FEATURECape Town International Convention Centre CEO, Rashid Toefy, discusses event legacy in his city, post-World Cup.Rashid ToefySeptember 2010 Conference+Meetings World www.c-mw.net 13World Cup expandsCape TownThe world's eyes were on South Africa andCape Town in July for, arguably, thegreatest sporting show on earth. How didthe city and the CTICC acquit themselves?Now that the World Cup is over,Capetonians can congratulate themselveson a job well done. Cape Town rose to thechallenge. As a host city, Cape Town alsomet the objectives set at the outset of thetournament, which included positioning it asa world class destination and benefittingresidents with new infrastructure,environmental and economic opportunities.The World Cup was an ideal platform toshowcase our potential to the world. Theinfrastructure that the city put in place, suchas the Integrated Rapid Transit System (IRT),Fan Parks and the stadium, contributed tothe success of this event. Cape Town is aneasily accessible city and the success of theWorld Cup is further testament to thedestination's ability to host big internationalevents. The CTICC took a strategic decision tosplit exhibition and conference space,enabling us to strike a balance between theWorld Cup and our regular meetings andevents. During this period, the centresuccessfully hosted live match screeningsand soccer parties in the exhibition halls,alongside international conferences like theGlobal Forum 2010. Do you see a big legacy for internationalevents in Cape Town as a result of theattention from the World Cup? Definitely. The World Cup was an excellentplatform for Cape Town and hosting anevent of that stature raises the bar in termsof service delivery. Over 16 per cent of international meetingstaking place in Africa and 60 per cent ofinternational meetings hosted in SouthAfrica, are held in Cape Town. But,because our lead time on internationalbookings is 36 months and for nationalbookings, three to 12 months, it is hard toforecast future events that are directly linkedto the World Cup. How is work progressing on the extensionproject for CTICC? We seem to have beenwaiting a long time for it.After a lengthy delay, we are moving fullsteam ahead and expect it to be completedover the next three years. The expansion willencompass a convention city entertainmentprecinct and double the centre's capacity. What are the implications of the end ofthe deal with the RAI for former CEO DirkElzinga's secondment? CTICC has reached an exciting turningpoint. This is the first time that the CTICCwill be run by a South African team. Sincethe CTICC opened its doors in 2003, wehave been working towards this goal andhave developed the necessary skills andexpertise to successfully run a conventioncentre. As CEO, I will continue to provide strategicleadership, as I have being doing for thepast three years. Our chief operating officer,Joey Pather, appointed in January, will fulfilthe position previously held by Dirk. The success of the centre thus far wouldnot have been possible without theleadership and guidance from ourmanagement company, Amsterdam RAI,and Dirk Elzinga. We are in the fortunateposition of being able to retain their serviceson a consultancy basis. This winningcombination of local skills and internationalexpertise will help CTICC achieve its vision ofbeing the best long haul internationalconvention centre by 2020. Does your Government (at various levels)fully understand and support the drive tobring in international conferences andevents? Do you have to lobby hard to getthe necessary support? As with most cities, it is always challengingto garner full support from Government.However, over the last year, we have????
FEATUREGym for Life in 2013, Congress of the International Society ofUniversity Colon and Rectal surgeons in2014 and the World Small Animal VetinaryAssociation in 2014 What new strategies and initiatives can welook forward to seeing from CTICC? While continuing to target the associationsmarket, we plan to broaden our focus. Wesee great potential for growth in theinternational NGO business. While CTICChas hosted events from organisations suchas the UN, we hope to attract much moreof this business. I recently attended the UNGlobal Compact (UNGC) CEO Summit inNew York and visited Washington with theaim of further strengthening ties in thissector. With expansion on the cards, CTICC alsoplans to grow its exhibition and trade faircomponent. What of the competition from otherAfrican venues? CTICC is the leading convention centre onthe African continent. In terms of the globalICCA worldwide rankings, Cape Town isranked 35th. In terms of international associationmeetings, the city, with 49 ICCA qualifyingmeetings, ranks above Johannesburg (128),which had 13 meetings, and Durban (231),with seven that met the ICCA criteria.Which international meetings industryassociations do you find valuable and why? Three critical associations for us are AIPC(the International Association of CongressCentres), UFI (International Trade FairAssociation)and ICCA (InternationalCongress and Convention Association). APIC is an ideal peer review platform for14September 2010 Conference+Meetings World www.c-mw.netCape Town is ranked 35th by ICCACTICC to continually benchmark itselfagainst international industry best practice. Trade fairs and exhibitions are animportant component of our core businessand an association body like UFI is a pivotalplatform for CTICC to grow this sector. Lastly, as CTICC focuses on targeting theAssociation market, ICCA is an invaluableplatform for international conference leadsand for networking. My recent appointment as chairperson ofthe ICCA Africa Chapter will further assistCTICC to achieve its vision. What are your environmental policies? As a centre where business principles arebuilt around the ethos of sustainability,climate change and the reduction ofgreenhouse gas emissions is a major priorityand one that informs our businessprocesses. CTICC is one of the few conventioncentres in the world that has had its processcertified according to the internationalsystems standards ISO 9001(QualityAssurance), ISO 14001(EnvironmentalManagement) and OHSAS18001(Occupational Health and Safety). CTICC is also the only convention centrein Africa that is a signatory to the UNGlobal Compact and is one of the foundingmembers of the Global Green Alliance,formed by CTICC and two of the world'smost eco-friendly convention centres: theMelbourne Convention and ExhibitionCentre and the Arena and ConventionCentre Liverpool.What is the most difficult problem youface in developing CTICC? One of the centre's key challenges is skillsretention. CTICC is in the fortunate positionof attracting a high calibre of staff. Thechallenge is how we retain and furtherenhance skills development. Another challenge is space constraints.Over the past seven years the centre hasseen an increased demand for exhibitionspace that CTICC is not able to fully meet.As a result we have not had the opportunityto grow. What single piece of business at thecentre you have taken most pride in? It's hard to choose one event when we havehosted so many. A highlight was theInternational Diabetes Federationconference in December 2006. Thisattracted over 12,000 delegates and wasthe first city-wide conference that CapeTown ever hosted.Another memorable event hosting the2010 FIFA Final Bid Draw in December, theperfect opportunity to showcase Cape Town. The CTICC took the decision to split exhibition and conference spaceseen a definite change in attitude. WithSouth Africa landing the World Cup, I thinkthe Government realised the potential andimportance of hosting international events.A strategic events forum was formed by theCity of Cape Town, with the specific aim ofensuring that Government and industry worktogether to attract international conferencesand meetings. A successful demonstration of thispartnership was Cape Town's bid to host the17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) of theUN Framework Convention on ClimateChange in 2011. How has the global recession affectedbusiness? Since inception, CTICC has focused ontargeting the associations market, which isfairly recession-proof. While CTICCmanaged to meet its targets, the effects ofthe recession were definitely felt and thecentre saw a reduction in delegate numbers,rental space and shorter conference days. Despite the challenges, the centremanaged to retain its clients with a strategycentred around long-term businesssustainability. What new conference business has beenwon lately?