The Northern Cape has one large convention centre in Kimberley and several other venues, but most of them can accommodate fewer than 300 delegates, the benchmark for the definition of an “international” conference.
Business travellers spend much more than leisure travellers and frequently combine both activities. South Africa has a National Conventions Bureau which encourages international associations and conventions to have their meetings and events in South Africa. The Northern Cape is in the process of establishing a similar body for the province.
Kimberley and Upington are the main cities for conference venues in the Northern Cape. Decentralisation would assist both South Africa (in being able to offer a wider variety of conference venues) and the Northern Cape economically, in spreading economic growth to smaller towns.
The Northern Cape Tourism Authority hosts 65 annual events and the presence of the Sol Plaatje University in the province heightens the likelihood of academic conferences being hosted.
Bearing this in mind, a consultancy, ReA-Con, was asked to do a feasibility study on the establishment of mini-conference facilities in the Pixley ka Seme District Municipality and the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality.
The aim of the feasibility study was to identify, evaluate and recommend suitable buildings or infrastructure in selected towns for the establishment of conference centres. Various criteria were used to determine whether a venue held sufficient potential to be considered, and a short list of possible sites was drawn up.
Suggested adaptations to accommodate conference delegates and events were made for many kinds of existing venues, ranging from town halls and hospitals (no longer used for their original purposes) to a caravan park, a stadium and a country club.
A total of 14 sites were identified as having the potential to be converted to conference facilities across the two district municipalities. These 14 sites were in the towns of Vanderkloof, Colesberg, De Aar and Kuruman. Some were ranked as “primary”, others as “secondary”.
In John Taolo Gaetsewe District, two venues were identified in the town of Kuruman as potential sites: the Kuruman Country Club and the Thabo Mogorosi Multipurpose Centre.
Contact / enquiries
Interested parties are invited to contact the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. Please mention mini-conference centres as reference.