Nina Freysen-Pretorius elected ICCA president

New Nina image November 2014 cFresh off of her successful campaign at the 53rd International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Conference in Antalya, Turkey, newly elected president Nina Freysen-Pretorius reflects on what her term in office means for her home, continent and country.

“Having been elected as President of ICCA at the Congress in Antalya, Turkey was an overwhelming experience.  I was running for the position against two other very strong industry professionals, Handan Boyce of Turkey and Martin Winter of Australia.  So having been voted in is a huge honour, not only for me personally but also for South Africa and the African continent.”  The Presidential term of office is for two years with the opportunity to continue for a second term of two years. “My wish would be to ensure that the change that members are wanting to see within the organisation is realised within my term of office.”

Nina Freysen-Pretorius joined the ICCA Board of Directors in 2008 and has been 2nd Vice-President of ICCA since 2010. She is the first ICCA president from Africa, and the 3rd female president in ICCA history. After two terms of two years, ICCA’s current president Arnaldo Nardone is stepping down at this year’s ICCA Congress.

“I am delighted to have been elected to this esteemed industry position and feel that I have the support of the ICCA members, board and constituency to take innovative steps that maintain the ethos and values of ICCA at all times. My election brings to mind the fact that ICCA members recognise the value Africa and other developing nations can add to the industry. I personally hope that it sends a positive message about our continent’s growth and service delivery potential.”

“The growth in the meetings industry has been exceptional over the last decade. Africa is truly rising” she said of the advancement made in the continent. “As you know, South Africa has successfully hosted numerous large scale events most recently the United Nations Climate Change Congress. I was fortunate to be employed as project manager for this congress by the city of Durban’s Ethekweni municipality,” she continues. “We hosted 17 000 delegates from around the world with high level government representatives, CEOs and NGO members in attendance.”

“These events show that Africa is capable of competently hosting such conferences,” explains Freysen-Pretorius. “If we as a country and continent attract more similar business, that translates into more services and addresses our key objectives of job creation and poverty alleviation.”

At the conference, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB), was been elected geographical member for Africa to the ICCA Board.

Commenting on the country’s progress in the international meetings industry, Kotze-Nhlapo said, “We are very proud of how far South Africa has come in terms of building its business events reputation and capability. We also recognise and are confident about the potential for future growth of this sector on the continent. Africa hosted just over 300 of the 12 000 association meetings held last year. It is a huge honour for me to be given this opportunity to help contribute towards a thriving African business events Industry”.