By Daniel Chigundu
THE 11th edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo has recorded a significant growth in terms of exhibitors driven largely by an increase in foreign participation.
According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), South Africa has brought more tour operators to this year’s fair which has generally seen an overwhelming response from quality exhibitors.
ZTA says it has had to extend exhibition space to allow companies that are continuously expressing interest in showcasing at this year’s premier event.
Addressing the media, ZTA chief executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke said the exhibitors statistics are an indication that Sanganai/Hlanganani is not only growing but also attracting a lot of interest in and outside the country.
“This expo has also realised an increase of 4.6 percent in exhibiting companies from last year, which demonstrates growth in the expo. Much growth is evident in the increase of foreign participants this year.
“There are 23 countries that are participating in housing over 77 companies in sharing stands which is the biggest recorded since the rebranding of the expo.
“To date, 150 buyers have arrived in the country and they are currently on pre-tours and some groups will undertake some post tours,” he said.
Some of the countries taking part this year include Botswana, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Tanzania, Ghana, Egypt, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Italy, China, Belgium and France.
According to statistic, about 325 companies have taken up stands at this year’s Hlanganani/Sanganai representing such sectors as the tourism industry, financial services sector, tertiary institutions, rural districts councils and suppliers to the tourism industry.
Dr Kaseke said he was happy with the figures of space uptake this year adding that it’s a positive development for the expo.
“The exhibition space taken up now is at 7548square metres which is a positive change in uptake from 2017 with 6 237 square metres. This increase of over 1000 square metres in space uptake shows a lot of interest directed towards the tourism sector,” he said.
Tourism is one of Zimbabwe’s low hanging fruit with quick results in terms of economic recovery and it is expected that Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel Expo will help draw as much tourism business for the country going forward.
Zimbabwe is on an ambitious recovery path set up by the new dispensation which came in power in November last year through Operation Restore Legacy.