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Unity is our strength

For 35 years the Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA) has been the prominent association for the exhibition and event industry in South Africa, representing all aspects of the industry while offering unique benefits to its members. The focus of this long standing association has always been the growth and development of the exhibition and events industry within Southern Africa. Despite the decision of some of the country’s exhibition organisers to break away and form a separate industry body, EXSA strongly believes that, given the current size of the industry in South Africa and the number of potential members, the association’s core strength lies is its unity and ability to effectively service the needs of the full spectrum of organisation’s within the exhibition and event sector in Southern Africa.

‘Our industry strength has always been our unity and I don’t believe that this is the time for fragmentation, especially with the enthusiastic interest that we are attracting internationally,’ said Craig Newman, CEO of the Johannesburg Expo Centre and vice chair of the Middle East Africa Chapter for UFI (the global association for the exhibition industry). The importance of unity and understanding ‘the bigger picture’ is echoed by Brad Alder, EXSA chairperson, ‘Most global associations come from a much larger base – in Southern Africa we are a small market in the world’s “bigger picture” although expansion into Africa is coming through fast and furiously with new venues being built across the continent. The exhibition and event industry in South Africa relies on unity.’EXSA consists of three vibrant forums namely the Suppliers Forum, Organisers Forum and Venue Forum and is certainly more than supplier led explains Nigel Walker, a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) of The Convention Industry Council. ‘EXSA has more Service Provider Members, more than any other sub-sector, with Venues having the least Member representation. This, however, mirrors the structure of the industry. EXSA does not place more emphasis on Service Providers, over any other industry sector.’

Knowledge and skills development is vital to the health of organisations and key to industry growth thus the motivation behind the EXSA Academy which aims to generate continued quality and an awareness of the importance of service to the exhibition industry. As well as embarking on a skills development programme, EXSA has the advantage of experience and sustainability and is affiliated with international bodies within the industry and are prominent members of the Tourism Council of SA. All of which add to its ability to support all members.‘EXSA has for over 35 years been serving the differing needs of its members and we will continue to do so. We are the officially internationally recognised body for the exhibitions industry. We are also undertaking various research projects with the NCB and TBCSA; as well as internationally via UFI; we are embarking on skills development and training across the board at all levels; we are part of the African Association of Associations; and we are committed to furthering the interests of the industry. As one Association serving our members,’ concluded Brad.

For more information, visit or contact the EXSA office on 011 805 7272 or You can also follow EXSA on Facebook Exhibitions & Events Association of Southern Africa (EXSA) or on Twitter @EXSA_SA.

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