Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) Gauteng and the International Trade Bureau (ITB) today announced the development of an international trade and exhibition centre on the doorstep of the international arrivals terminal at O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA).
The O.R. Tambo International Trade Bureau (ORTITB) will be a permanent exhibition facility offering South African exporters unparalleled access to international business visitors and thereby international markets.
Almost 13 million passengers moved through ORTIA in 2003 and an estimated 1.2 million of those were business travelers arriving at ORTIA.
The liberalisation of trade and the phenomenon of globalisation have created many opportunities for companies while simultaneously posing a threat to the survival of others.
Whether a company is capitalising on foreign market opportunities, or minimising its dependency on local markets, the continuous identification of new markets for products is a critical and universal need.
The identification of new markets poses many challenges to exporters, requiring insight into foreign markets, as well as a significant investment in time and other resources. Many companies have no effective way of identifying new suitable markets nor do they understand the demand for, along with the appeal of, their products in those markets.
Bongani Maseko, General Manager of ORTIA, said the ORTITB will be a powerful tool in bringing these foreign markets and local exhibitors together.
“The trade bureau will exploit ORTIA’s position as a hub airport, offering a point of convergence for business and commercial opportunities, drawing business into South Africa thereby strengthening and building the economy,” Maseko said.
ITB Director, Michael Sudarkasa, said the ORTITB would be proactive in attracting foreign markets.
“Instead of going out looking for new markets the ORTITB will bring foreign markets to exhibitors in the trade centre,” Sudarkasa said.
The joint venture between ACSA, Nafcoc (Gauteng) and the ITB is valued at R15 million and is due to be completed early 2005.
Facilities at the ORTITB
Facilities within the ORTITB will include permanent exhibition stands for premier exporters, a library and information desk, refreshment areas, meeting rooms and offices. The five-star Airport Sun Inter-Continental Hotel is walking distance from the bureau and also offers premier conference facilities. Terminal B, the new domestic terminal at ORTIA, also boasts stylish conference facilities within its Premier Conference Centre, offering further support to the business traveler.
ORTITB and the Industrial Development Zone
The trade centre will complement the development of ACSA’s export processing Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) with the Gauteng Provincial Government’s Blue IQ project. The IDZ reflects the company’s vision of developing and promoting export driven industries in South Africa and the ORTITB provides the perfect platform for this objective.
The ORTITB will be an extension of the ITB's existing trade promotion services that include export consulting and international market research and will form part of an international network of associate offices.
A 1998 independent survey of traders arriving in South Africa confirmed that 34% arrive by air, most of them (58%) spending four to seven days in the country, with approximately 70% of them staying in hotels.
The same survey revealed that of the total spend (by traders) of R4.7 billion, an estimated R1.6 billion was spent by travelers using ORTIA. Today, the total spend of this market segment is projected to be well over R7 billion per annum.
Promoting the ORTITB
The ORTITB will primarily be marketed to the growing number of international business travelers who visit South Africa. In 2003 ORTIA’s 1,2 million arriving international business travelers originated from 59 European countries, 57 countries in Africa, 30 Asian countries, 25 Pacific Rim countries, 16 countries in the Middle East, 3 Indian Ocean Islands and 39 countries in North, Central & South America.
Some of the channels to be used include the in-flight magazines of major airlines flying to and from South Africa, Embassies and Consulates abroad whilst on-site marketing in ORTIA’s international terminals will be key.