Sanganai/Hlanganani started on the 12th of September and will run-up to the 14th at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo with more than 270 exhibitors taking part.
In an interview, TBCZ chief executive officer Paul Matamisa said they are not only looking forward to renewing contacts with various stakeholders but are also eyeing tourism deals between its members and the international buyers.
“We are expecting to renew old communications and contacts and obviously we are expecting new ones to be made and we hope that the buyers we have this year are going to be conducting a lot of business with locals and that we should have a lot of our operators clinching some deals from some of the visitors that are here particularly those international buyers and so on.
“But obviously we want to see domestic tourism growing, therefore, the locals have a role to play in this fair as the internationals, they have to come and see what they can get for them to go on holidays in the various resources that Zimbabwe has to offer.
“It is a pity that very often your local people don’t know what Victoria Falls look like , don’t know what Kariba offers, Nyanga, Masvingo and yet we should be telling visitors what there is as the locals, as the people who are the owners of the resource that we have,” he said.
With regards to pricing for the locals, Matamisa said the tourism industry is not to blame as prices are generally set by players in the sectors who are part of the value chain.
“One cannot deny the fact that our products, not just tourism but generally in the country is overpriced and when you compare with other countries within the region for instances you find that you are not in right place, but as I have always said to those who care to listen that tourism is not the one that sets the pace in terms of pricing.
“Tourism receives the pricing from those that are up there, tourism in terms of the value chain of the Zimbabwe business you find that it is almost at the bottom and therefore in that regard you know when you are right there at the bottom just above the consumers in fact that is where tourism stands and resides it means that you are now in a position where you are simply receiving instructions from above of what prices should be and so on and if you want to remain viable and sustainable you also have to respond to what is happening upwards,” said Matamisa.
The Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe boss took the opportunity to applaud the tourism industry for putting up better exhibition stands this year.
“The exhibitions of what I have seen so far they are looking very good and people are trying to outdo themselves from what they had last year so it’s actually very good when people are doing that, last year I was at this level this year I must do better that is the tendency that we have tended to see right now.
“So it is very good it is an improvement from the one before and hopefully the public will respond likewise,” he said.