ZTA elated at SA presence at premier tourism expo
By Lovemore Ranga Mataire in Bulawayo
Despite reeling under the burden of economic sanctions imposed by the West, Zimbabwe has remained an irrestistible tourist destination judging by the record numbers of companies participating at this year’s 10th edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo in Bulawayo.
The premier travel and tourism expo kicked off on Wednesday 27 September to coincide with World Tourism Day. It was scheduled to end on Sunday 1 September.
The expo is annually organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority headed by Karikoga Kaseke.
ZTA head of corporate affairs Sugar Chagonda told journalists that the authority was thrilled by the enthusiasm of buyers and companies exhibiting at this year’s expo.
“We have 350 registered exhibitors and 29 of these are foreign companies from 11 countries,” said Chagonda.
He said the 11 countries that were participating included South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana and Egypt.
Chagonda said most exhibitors were in the categories of accommodation, tour operators, parastatals, tertiary institutions, restaurants, car hire, transport operators, publicity associations and rural district councils. He said 224 buyers were already in the country undertaking pre-Sanganai familiarisation tours around the country.
“As I am speaking, some buyers are in Victoria Falls, Hwange and Kariba while others are in the Eastern Highlands,” Chagonda said.
There has been an increase of companies exhibiting at the fair from 240 last year to 350 this year. Buyers were 120 last year compared to 224 this year.
Chagonda said the increase of companies exhibiting at the fair was indicative of the confidence that tourism players have in the Zimbabwean product.
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s major source market and it took years of negotiations for the country to take part at this year’s expo.
Chagonda said the premier travel and tourism fair comes on heels of the successful holding of the Harare International Carnival which attracted a number of countries, including Brazil.