By Chris Bishop
The owners of the luxury Westin Hotel in Cape Town could have slept soundly last night knowing they were guaranteed to make at least R3.5 million ($233 226) as the Africa #MiningIndaba2020 and its nearly 7,000 delegates rolled into town.
The Mining Indaba – the biggest mining gathering on the planet – kicks off tomorrow Monday and the organisers say more than 40 African ministers and the President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio will attend. Mining accounts for 80% of Sierra Leone’s exports – mining everything from mineral sands to diamonds and iron ore – and its president wants to revive the economy by rewriting the country’s mining law.
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All 26 editions of the Mining Indaba have been held in Cape Town. Joanna Kotyrba, Head of Marketing for the Mining Indaba attributes this to Cape Town being South Africa’s top conference destination on the African continent and it is considered as one of the premier business events destinations in the world.
“By hosting Mining Indaba events in Cape Town, we not only ensure our events attract top delegates from around the world, but we are also supporting the city and province’s goals of economic growth and job creation in the areas of conferencing, tourism and hospitality,” she told CNBC Africa.
Many of Africa’s top politicians are staying in the 4,500 hotel rooms that are a 10-minute walk from the Cape Town International Convention Centre where the Mining Indaba will be held throughout this week. Word is in the Cape Town hotel business that every one of these rooms are sold out this week. It is part of a wave of currency that comes with the many conferences held in Cape Town that see a surge in demand for cars, hotels and food right down to airport shuttles and shoeshines.
One of the hotels that make up the 4,500 rooms a hop-skip and a jump from the Mining Indaba is the plush Westin Hotel on the doorstep of the conference. Its 500 rooms are sold out, according to sales and marketing director Stacey Hopkins. This means the hotel takes at least R3.5 million in revenue every night that it is packing them in from the Mining Indaba.
“The Mining Indaba is good for business in Cape Town,” says Hopkins.
“We have struggled against a water shortage for a long time and conferences are helping us improve business.”
Hopkins said matters were improved even more for the hotel business in that many Mining Indaba delegates choose to extend their stay in Cape Town around conference to make time for holidays and business meetings.