Oliver Kazunga, Acting Business Editor
A HIGH-POWERED delegation led by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mr Munesu Munodawafa yesterday left the country for the Spanish International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) in Madrid.
The fair, which begins tomorrow ends on Monday next week with the Zimbabwe delegation expected to tap into the global travel ideas that will impact on the development of the local tourism industry.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said the delegation which comprises officials from the authority, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and tourism players in the private sector, among others will be among the 10 487 exhibitors from 165 countries at the show.
“As the world converges at the Spanish International Tourism Trade Fair, FITUR in Madrid, Spain from 22-26 January 2020, Zimbabwe will be among the 10 487 exhibitors from 165 countries.
“Zimbabwe’s exhibition comes at an opportune time when the world is becoming more conscious about travel and discovery of new destinations,” said ZTA in a statement.
This is the 12th time the country has exhibited at the expo.
FITUR is the global meeting point for the world’s tourism professionals.
It is the leading trade fair for inbound and outbound markets in Europe.
The showcase also attracts 142 642 trade visitors and last year over 110 848 entries were recorded as interest grows from the general populace.
ZTA acting chief executive officer Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said the fair presented a great opportunity for increasing the destination’s visibility.
“With this networking and intense exposure, Zimbabwe will leverage on this platform to reassure the market and further position Zimbabwe as a destination of choice.
“Furthermore, with the strategic position of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in Madrid, policy-makers within this body will meet to deliberate on global tourism issues under the auspices of FITUR,” he said.
“Zimbabwe’s participation remains critical as this will also present an opportunity to contribute as well as tap into the global travel ideas that will impact on tourism development in Zimbabwe.
“The sessions will cover topics around sustainability, innovation, investment and destination competitiveness among others.”
Mr Chidzidzi said the destination is on a drive to nurture the Spanish market which has shown positive growth patterns in the recent past.
“This is one of Zimbabwe’s emerging markets. In 2018 we recorded 13 528 arrivals from that part of the world. This was a significant 8 percent increase from the preceding year which recorded 12 583 arrivals,” he said.
During this year’s edition of the fair, Zimbabwe is set to increase destination awareness, resuscitate and forge new partnerships with tour operators while nurturing existing business relationships with a view of intensifying the promotion and packaging of the destination in the Spanish market.
“We’re proud to share with the world that destination Zimbabwe made it to Bloomberg’s 24 Best Travel Destinations for 2020.
“Additionally, Zimbabwe has also been nominated in Harpers Bazaar’s Where to Honeymoon in 2020. The renewed confidence in Zimbabwe is clearly reflected in these nominations and we are hopeful that this will drive traffic into the destination,” said Mr Chidzidzi.