Exploring the Use of Virtual and Hybrid Events for MICE Sector Resilience: The Case of South Africa

Refiloe Julia Lekgau, Tembi Maloney Tichaawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study departs from the premise that COVID-19 has fast-tracked the transition to the virtual environment in the global meetings, incentives, conference/convention, and exhibition (MICE) events sector. Using South Africa as a case study, the research explores the use of virtual and hybrid events in enhancing the resilience of MICE events. Adopting a mixed methods approach, data was collected from 19 purposively selected MICE tourism stakeholders (involved in the planning and organizing of the MICE sector) as well as 500 MICE event attendees. The findings reveal that virtual and hybrid MICE events ensured the business continuity of the MICE sector during COVID-19. Additionally, these events were found to be essential for information sharing and proved valuable in times of uncertainty. The study further found that these events provided substantial market opportunities for MICE stakeholders in the country. However, the study uncovered that certain sub-sector of MICE, as well as some key functions, cannot be easily replicated in the virtual space. Moreover, several challenges surfaced when hosting such events, including the matter of internet connectivity and the significant capital investments required for their execution. Overall, the study concludes that virtual events have emerged as a valuable tool for enhancing the resilience of MICE events to crises, and hybrid events are postulated to become a prominent feature in MICE events offerings in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1579-1594
Number of pages16
JournalAfrican Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Covid-19
  • Hybrid events
  • Mice tourism
  • Resilience
  • South africa
  • Virtual events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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