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South Africa Tourism To Hold Future Leaders Forum During Meetings Africa 2024

“It is really about ensuring the industry’s sustainability through investment in our young people.”

In a strategic collaboration with the Southern African Tourism Educators of South Africa (TESA), South African Tourism, through the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB), is set to hold the highly anticipated Future Leaders Forum during the upcoming Meetings Africa trade show.

The Future Leaders Forum, a focal point of the Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) on February 26, is tailored to engage and inspire young enthusiasts aspiring to excel in the dynamic business events sector. As youth empowerment takes centre stage in the tourism and business events industry, this meticulously crafted program aims to guide students towards successful careers.

Bjorn Hufkie, the GM MICE Sales Officer at SANCB, highlighted the significance of this initiative, stating, “At South African Tourism, we are serious about empowering tomorrow’s leaders, and this globally recognised platform allows us to do that while ensuring that we nurture talent that will benefit our business events industry in the future. It is really about ensuring the industry’s sustainability through investment in our young people.”

Hufkie went on to say, “Through this Future Leaders Forum programme, students gain international recognition and become proud representatives of their country. In their engagement and interactions with other students from other parts of the world, they get to impart information about South Africa and inspire other people to come meet and visit South Africa. The IMEX-MPI International University Challenge is not only a great and worthwhile challenge for the students, but it is also a wonderful way to showcase our brand. I wish all three finalists the best of luck, and I look forward to welcoming them to the business events industry in future meetings and gatherings.”

Participants in the forum will immerse themselves in a transformative experience over two days, fostering valuable industry connections, accessing top-tier educational content, gaining insights from seasoned professionals, and engaging in collaborative learning with their peers.

One of the innovative features of the Future Leaders Forum is the participation of three top-performing students nominated from universities across the country. The selection criteria for eligible students, enrolled in NQF level 7 and 8 qualifications in Tourism and Hospitality, includes a keen interest in the business events industry, academic excellence, and an age limit not exceeding 35 years. The nominated finalists are James Kgabo from Tshwane North College, Hlolohelo Zwane from Tshwane North College, and Anaïs Saayman from North-West University.

These finalists will present their proposals on February 26, potentially marking the beginning of an exciting venture into the global meetings and events arena. The winner of the 2024 Future Leaders Forum will advance to the prestigious International University Challenge, a global competition that unfolds at Future Leaders Forums worldwide.

The victor of the Future Leaders Forum – International University Challenge at Meetings Africa 2024 will receive a sponsored prize, including flights, accommodation, and a travel allowance to attend the global Future Leaders Forum at IMEX Frankfurt in May 2024. Meeting Professional International (MPI), the world’s largest industry association for meeting and event professionals, will fund accommodation, while the SANCB will support flights and allowance.

The Meetings Africa trade show, dedicated to Meetings, Incentives, Conventions/Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE), will grace Johannesburg’s prestigious Sandton Convention Centre from February 26th to 28th, 2024.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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