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Speaking notes for Deputy Minister Fish Mahlalela on the occasion of the SANCB press conference at IMEX Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
Speaking notes for Deputy Minister Fish Mahlalela on the occasion of the SANCB press conference at IMEX Frankfurt,

Global event planners, Buyers and Suppliers

South African Tourism Team

Members of the Media

I think we can all concede that we are thrilled to be here today, because we all could not gather like this for IMEX Frankfurt last year and today we are all here connecting the best way we know how – in person. 

We are gathered here today convened by the South African Conventions Bureau, a business unit of South African Tourism. Through the SANCB, South Africa has been represented on various stages at different trade shows, such as this one and has contributed to the country hosting some of the biggest events that have brought in billions of Rands to the South African economy.

This past two-year period has been incredibly challenging for our sector. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent border restrictions announced by governments worldwide resulted in significant disruption of the business events industry (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions). 

As South Africa, we developed and are implementing a Tourism Sector Recovery Plan which seeks to, amongst others, create a safe environment to rebuild travel confidence, stimulate demand including through business events and ensure protection of core tourism infrastructure assets. We have also introduced world-benchmarked norms and standards for safe operation of the sector geared to protect visitors and South Africans

We are here at IMEX Frankfurt 2022 to remind you that South Africa is indeed an ideal business events destination with solid infrastructure capability. As the South African government, we continue our commitment to growing the business events industry to South Africa and we know that in order to do so we need to address some of the barriers that remain a challenge.

Through the Department of Home Affairs, responsible for our immigration services significant progress has been made by South Africa in respect of travel facilitation, particularly visas. The country is continuously expanding tourism markets enjoying visa waiver to enter South Africa and adopts a policy of easing visa processes where waivers are not in place. The rolling-out of e-visa with online applications is progressing, with 14 countries[1] recently added and now able to apply through the e-visa link


South Africa is a country of beautiful landscapes, warm and welcoming people and has successfully hosted some of the world’s biggest sporting events and conferences. Our doors are open with smiling South Africans ready to host global events, to this effect we have launched a campaign themed Open Doors to invite everyone to host meetings, conferences, events and exhibitions in South Africa.

With open hearts in all our diversity, and our humanity. 

I officially invite you to come to South Africa – our borders are open. 

[1] Including China, India, Kenya and Nigeria.​