SANGANAI/HLANGANANI World Travel Expo local organising committee in Bulawayo says the city of kings and queens is now ready to host the fair which is scheduled for the 12th to the 14th of September at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).
Commenting on the preparations, Butholezwe Nyathi who is part of LOC said excited by the way preparations for the annual fair have gone so far adding that they are now looking forward to receiving exhibitors.
“It’s a matter of days before the 12th edition kicks off and as a member of the Local Organising Committee we are delighted, adrenaline is kicking in. We are looking forward to receiving tourists from the broader continent of Africa and beyond.
“On our part, we are seized with making sure that our preparations are heightened so that people see the best that Zimbabwe has to offer in terms of the tourism product in its multi-faceted nature,” he said.
Nyathi added that “one of the elements that we are excited about this year is the visit by three provincial tourism councils from South Africa.
“Those who know our tourism history will know that South Africa has been a traditional source market for tourists and that tourism is also playing its part in the on-going re-engagement process.
“Tourism is also playing its part leveraging on the historical relations we have with South Africa all in an effort to ensure the sector contributes to the broader agenda under Vision 2030. So, in essence, Bulawayo looks forward to receiving Africa and the world,” he said.
Currently, there are about 250 registered local and international exhibitors with more expected to have registered by close of registration on Friday 30th of August.
Apart from the huge number of exhibitors, about 150 buyers have been confirmed for this year’s edition together with about 15 international media practitioners.
This year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel Expo is expected to play an important role in the tourism sector’s efforts of trying to increase arrivals as well as encourage domestic tourism.
Zimbabwe is currently highly ranked as one of the best places to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet coupled with various awards that include the best sustainable tourism destination.
The expo is going to also give an opportunity to the tourism industry to interact with members of the public on the 14th of September which is public day.
This day is important especially for domestic tourism purposes as most Zimbabweans are not aware of the tourist attractions and facilities that the country has.
Tourism is an important pillar in the government’s economic revival strategy together with mining and agriculture due to their ability to generate foreign currency and attracting investors.
According to Hatfield legislator Tapiwa Mashakada, tourism is the country’s low hanging fruit with quick wins and must be supported in every way especially in marketing and branding exercises.
Meanwhile, ZTA head of corporate affairs Godfrey Koti revealed that about 20 countries will be taking part in this year’s edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel Expo.
“About 20 countries have confirmed their participation these include India, China, Italy, Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique among others,” he said.
According to ZTA, they are also going to use Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel Expo to promote and showcase the country’s ability to host Meetings, Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE). Zimbabwe has generally been lagging behind in terms of attracting MICE activities despite have facilities around the country.