SAACI Congress is Pushing the Productivity Pipeline
After the signing of the BRICS MICE Forum reciprocity agreement at the beginning of May, it has been a non-stop time of innovation and implementation for SAACI CEO, Rudi van der Vyver.
Many of the developments will ease frustration in the Business Events / MICE industry, and if all parties come on board, it will push the industry into a supportive, productive, cross-border space. Some things the Business Events / MICE industry can look forward to over the coming few months include:
The SAACI Academy
SAACI, in partnership with Stellenbosch University, ECTA and other training providers, has piloted an educational programme focusing on grassroots education and upliftment. Says van der Vyver, “It’s a step-by-step skills development programme. Literally every weekend in the townships and rural areas there is some sort of event. Even church is an event – people are putting up marquees, doing draping, catering, and the like.” The idea behind this SAACI Academy project is to turn these informal skills into certified, marketable skills, which will not only uplift the communities but improve the industry as a whole.
BRICS and a time for reciprocity
On May 9, at the BRICS MICE Co-operation Forum in India, a reciprocity agreement was signed between Southern Africa’s SAACI, India’s IEIA, and six other nations in an effort towards collaboration in the MICE space, as well as the opening of market access between South Africa and India.
“The BRICS MICE Forum website will be launching soon,” said van der Vyver, “and the idea is to have a repository of information for any of the members to have access to the partner associations in order to ease operations between countries.” The website will also include all the conferences and exhibitions to be held in the various countries.
Currently Brazil offers its members a membership card which allows them free, pre-registered access to all trade shows. SAACI are looking at the potential of adopting a similar system for South Africa and Africa, thereby opening up the industry across borders. “We could arrange a temporary membership card with our partner associations for our members if they wish to attend trade shows across border. The same arrangement would work if any of our partner associations wish to send members to trade shows in Southern Africa.”
BRICS conference visa on the cards
SAACI is set to engage with Home Affairs through the Department of Tourism to encourage the adoption of a conference and exhibition e-visa. “India currently has a conference visa,” said van der Vyver, “and the process is quick and painless – while the visas could take up to three working days, I had mine within 24 hours.” The premise it that the associations will be able to vouch for their various members, having completed due diligence upon signing them up as members. SAACI will begin discussions this year, and hope that the example of the success of the Indian conference visa will help to expedite the implementation.