By Norma Tsopo
HARARE – Sanganai/Hlanganani – World Tourism Expo offers lucrative opportunities for participating hospitality industry players, the annual tourism trade fair organisers have said.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) public relations manager Sugar Chagonda said the event which is organized to market the country’s tourism products and has been running for the past nine years is a must attend for serious hospitality sector players.
“The benefit is to generate tourism business because it allows them to interface with regional and international tourism buyers and wholesalers who will be coming here to meet local players in the tourism industry…buyers bring tourists to Zimbabwe,” Chagonda said of the event.
The expo is being held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo from September 27 to October 1.
The fair is the successor of Shanyai/Vakatshani, the Zimbabwe International Travel Expo (ZITE) that was held annually at the Harare International Conference Centre.
ZITE started as a small expo in 1982 and grew over the years to become one of Africa’s leading tourism showcases by 2007.
It is largely considered a success as they attracted players from some of Africa’s leading destinations like South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. Major world tourism markets such as Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India and Italy also participated among many others.
The 2016 edition was held in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo.
The fair targets among other exhibitors – national tourism boards, embassies, international airlines, tourism destinations, leading tour wholesalers, tour operators and travel agents, accommodation providers, car hire and transport operators, suppliers of goods and services to the tourism industry, investors, government ministries and parastatals.
The ZTA publicist said apart from affording local tourism buyers the opportunity to network and forge partnerships with world tourism players it would give them insights into the different source markets for their clientele.
“They will acquire knowledge about different source markets and derive value from well structured, themed and informative International tourism conferences and workshops.”
He said they also can benefit from interacting with travel media from all corners of the world as well as establish strategic partnerships with other destinations.
Locally, he said, they would also network across ministerial divides.
ZTA hopes that the expo will aid efforts to rehabilitate the country’s image and lure tourists from across the globe.
As it steps up efforts to bring back the traffic that can generate $5 billion in revenue annually the fair will also support the long-running ‘Zimbabwe a world of Wonders’ brand which ZTA launched in Madrid in mid-January 2011 during an annual international tourism expo.