ACTING Minister of Environment Tourism and Hospitality Industry Kirsty Coventry says she has been impressed by the quality of exhibitions stands at this year’s edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo.
Sanganai/Hlanganani started on the 12th of September and will be running up to the 14 September at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) exhibition centre and is part of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s aggressive marketing campaign together with attending travel shows meetings and conferences, as well as appointing key personalities into tourism ambassadors.
Part of the strategy also includes maintaining a digital presence and setting up marketing offices in foreign countries.
Speaking during a tour of the exhibition stands Minister Coventry said what she has seen will go a long way in promoting the country.
“I think the stands are incredible to have so many people locally and internationally coming and also regionally supporting and showcasing Zimbabwe in such a positive light, so my initial impression is very good, very high standards, and it’s really nice to see.
“And from other conversations that we had there has already been some very good promotion of Zimbabwe, some good deals that have been made in terms of bringing in more tourists so I think those are all positive things for our country,” she said.
Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo is critical to the country’s strategy of trying to increase the number of tourists that come to Zimbabwe.
In 2018 Zimbabwe recorded a 6 percent increase in arrivals reaching 2.6 million and this figure also surpassed the country’s record of 2.2 million which was achieved in 1999.
The increased also translated to about $1.5 billion in receipts generated by the sector and the ministry is hoping that the upward trend will continue going forward and has urged the sector to continue its good work.
The tourism sector is currently among the country’s key economic revival pillars together with agriculture and mining since the coming in of the new dispensation in November 2017.
Stakeholders and economic commentators have also described tourism as the country’s low hanging fruit with quick wins if adequately supported.
The sector is currently facing various operational challenges and the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) briefed Minister Coventry about some them and she has promised to help solve them.
“Some of them have highlighted challenges which they need to be addressed but its challenges that we had over the past few months some in terms of fuel, some on the currency challenges and those are all things that as government we are aware of and we do need to highlight and try to work on and so we will be looking at that in the next few weeks,” she said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) acting chief executive Givemore Chidzidzi told journalists at a press conference that there are about 290 exhibitors at this year’s fair with more companies still making enquiries on how they can participate.
Chidzidzi said what they have been planning and projecting has come to pass courtesy of the number of exhibitors (290), hosted international buyers (170) and media. About 10 countries are taking part in exhibitions while others have representation through buyers and media