Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE hosting of the annual Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Expo in Bulawayo has yielded positive results with the event expected to grow by at least 20 percent this year from 2018 through harnessing digital marketing strategies, organisers have said.
The upcoming Africa’s premier tourism fair, which will be held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo from September 12 to 14, attracts the best tourism products, international visitors and media from across the world.
Addressing a Press conference after meeting stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry yesterday, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) acting chief executive officer, Mrs Rita Likukuma, noted that the tourism fair was an international event.
“So, we look forward to a very successful tourism expo where we will host a number of international buyers. Last year we had 71 and we are expecting the number to grow.
“As much as we had a very successful ZITF where we had an overflow of takers, it is our hope that we will have that kind of overflow this year if not in terms of numbers but indeed in terms of quality so that we up the amount of business that we generate,” she said.
ZTA acting executive director for National Convention Bureau Ms Pauline Ndlovu said since 2016, when the tourism fair was moved to Bulawayo from Harare, the show has been registering phenomenal growth.
“In 2016, we had 216 exhibitors, in 2017 we had 300 exhibitors and in 2018 the figure went up to 318. And our target is to have at least 20 percent increase this year.
“As we prepare for 2019, there are a number of issues that came up last year of which we have sat down with key stakeholders and we have mapped the way forward to ensure that this year’s event succeeds and super-exceeds our 2018 edition,” she said.
The number of participants over the years has also been registering an upward trajectory. In 2016, the tourism fair registered 96 buyers while in the following year the figure spiked to 162 before increasing further to 201 in 2018. To date, 71 international buyers from all over the world have confirmed their participation at the upcoming Sanganai/Hlanganani tourism fair.
“We have enhanced the platform by providing other means of networking that the industry has seen value and one such platform has been speed networking.
“We have somehow managed to find a way of perfecting speed networking such that the last edition was the best platform and because of that we are likely to get more exhibitors this year hence we anticipate an increase because of that platform, which was a hit in 2018. We have also come up with online registration where buyers and exhibitors register,” she said.
At last year’s edition of the tourism fair, ZTA sought to enhance business to business exchange through speed networking. — @okazunga