ZIMBABWE International Trade Fair Company (ZITF) has revealed that it is working on upgrading some of its exhibition halls with a view to attract quality events.
The ZITF exhibition centre is the largest exhibition and conferencing facility in the country offering opportunities for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE).
MICE business is arguably one of the largely untapped sectors owing to lack of adequate and quality facilities in the country.
This unavailability of large facilities has seen the country losing out on international conferences and exhibitions. For example, South Africa has benefitted greatly from religious tourism due to its facilities such as the Ticketpro Dome formerly Coca-cola Dome where churches like Christ Embassy bring their followers every year for church programs.
Despite this albatross, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has however been working flat-out through its various marketing strategies to try and bid for MICE business and went as far as establishing the National Conventions Bureau which is headed by Tesa Chikaponya.
Addressing the media during their 2019 ZITF marketing campaign launch, company chairperson Ruth Ncube acknowledged that some of their halls have not been to standard and are now being renovated to enable the hosting of various quality events.
“Part of our halls are being turned into proper conference room facilities, if you look in the past we have not been able to attract good quality events because of the kind of facilities that we have.
“But again we are looking and working hard to turn our facilities into proper competitive facilities that anyone can admire and wish to hold a proper global conference and of course our latest edition the ISO certification.
“ZITF is ISO certified, was ISO certified last year and for us, it is a bigger achievement and we would like to adhere to standards that we promised to deliver,” she said.
MICE business has the potential to generate a lot of receipts for the country if effectively implemented, however, this will require a deliberate investment in conference and exhibition facilities as well as bedding.
ZTA chief executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke told the media during the 2018 edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel Expo, that the country is likely to experience a tourism boom owing to positive sentiments from the new dispensation to the world that Zimbabwe is open for business.
The authority is expected to embark on the Visit Zimbabwe campaign early next year targeting such source markets as Russia and China.