Sanganai /Hlanganani Tourism Expo a boon for SMEs and women
By Charity Ruzvidzo
Harare – The Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Anastacia Ndlovu says SMEs and women are set to benefit immensely from the country’s leading travel and tourism expo, Sanganai /Hlanganani.
The expo, which will run from September 27 to October 1, is a showcase of the diverse African tourism products, and attracts international visitors and media from across the world.
Ndlovu said SMEs and women will get an opportunity to showcase their wares and talents.
“The expo will provide an opportunity for SMES and women to network with buyers and potential business partners. It will enable them to showcase their talents and sell their products to both local and international participants present,” she said.
The deputy minister said it was the tourism ministry’s agenda to share tourism benefits equitably among Zimbabweans.
“It is our aim to improve the livelihoods of our people through tourism. We hosted the Harare International Carnival and many businesses increased their sales from the high attendance at the carnival. The Sanganai /Hlanganani expo will be held in Bulawayo and we expect the youths and businesses in the city to also benefit from this expo,” she said.
The expo will have Hall 5 specifically for tourism SMEs and young people to showcase their products. Ndlovu said Sanganai/Hlanganani is the second biggest travel and tourism expo in Africa after South Africa’s Indaba held in Durban.
“This year 150 exhibitors are from Bulawayo and this is good. However, we still urge other young people to engage organisers of the expo on how to participate. We are trying to dispel notions that tourism is a preserve of the rich therefore we need our marginalised groups such as women and young people to capitalise on this opportunity,” he said.
The SMEs sector in Zimbabwe accounts for 90 percent of the employable population and needs government and private sector assistance to secure funding.
SMEs are increasingly being recognised as productive drivers of economic growth. There are empowering, creating employment and assisting the country’s new economic blueprint ZimAsset to achieve its targets.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke said the expo was already fully subscribed. He said 340 exhibitors had registered and 6,287 square meters o0f space have been taken up ahead of the expo.
The past editions of Sanganai/Hlanganani were a resounding success and attracted the leading African destinations and major world tourism markets such as South Africa, Botswana, Malaysia, China, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Indonesia, India, Italy and many others.
The expo will also present an opportunity for the Bulawayo community to present their rich culture to the world.
Apart from the business-to-business meetings between exhibitors and buyers, the tourism expo will also host a health expo.