250 exhibitors confirm participation at tourism expo

A TOTAL of 250 local and international exhibitors have confirmed participation at this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Expo scheduled for next month.

The world’s premier travel and tourism fair, which is organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), runs from 12 to 14 September at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo.

In an interview yesterday, ZTA head of corporate affairs Mr Godfrey Koti said so far a total of 150 international exhibitors from the traditional source markets in Europe and Asia had confirmed participation.

“As far as the numbers are concerned, we are currently at 150 international exhibitors. We were targeting 140 largely because of this economic situation.

“We are looking at 60 more coming from the African region. The reason also is that we needed to manage our budget as well for hosting this particular function.

“In terms of the total number of exhibitors, I can confirm that we are currently standing at 250 exhibitors and we just recently held a capacitation workshop in Bulawayo on Friday last week,” he said.

The deadline for registration by local exhibitors is August 29 and recently ZTA also held a stakeholders’ engagement in Victoria Falls to capacitate them on how to package and market their products to international buyers who are coming for the exhibition.

Mr Koti said ZTA was looking at various initiatives that will come through and chief among them was the speed networking forum that was started last year.

“And we are continuing it (speed networking forum) this year. It’s going to be bigger and much more organised than last year’s,” he said.

The international buyers, Mr Koti said, were coming from an number of countries mainly Zimbabwe’s source markets such as the United Kingdom, Italy, India, Germany, and Spain.

“And of particular interest is China. Remember our initiative with a Chinese firm, Welcome China. This has brought us some interesting numbers. About 25 buyers are coming from China.

“This is a very big number on its own compared to previous years,” he said.

Early this year, ZTA in collaboration with Welcome China conducted the China Ready Certification Training Programme to all the tourism and related industries in Zimbabwe. The training programme was meant to train tourism operators and related businesses to attract the Chinese tourism market to visit Zimbabwe tourist destinations.

Mr Koti said there was also significant interest by travel companies from the European Union to participate at this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani Tourism Expo due to the recent thawing of relations between Zimbabwe and the EU.

“We have also had an engagement drive in the UK following a recent road show in that country and this has thawed our relations in a big way that has attracted interest from travel companies there to participate at Sanganai/Hlanganani Fair,” he said.

Mr Koti would not be drawn into revealing the guest of honour for the upcoming Sanganai/Hlanganani Tourism Expo saying they were still finalising the issue but hinted that the fair would be officially opened by an official from the business side.

This, he said, was meant to give the fair a business flair.

ZTA has announced that it targets to grow this tourism event by 20 percent.

“We have maintained our target in a very good way, so we are well on course on that growth but let’s find out how that growth ends as we close the registration deadline.

“And also the business that comes out of that will also be telling as far as the numbers of participants is concerned and the business activity that we are expecting to get out of this show,” he said. –chronce.co.zw

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