Africa: Zimbabwe announces the shift of Sanganai Travel expo to September
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) yesterday said it has started preparations for this year’s edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo to be held in September after getting funding from government.
ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke told a media briefing in the capital that government had committed to fund the premier tourism event and also pay all the debts that were accrued during the previous edition of the event.
“. . . officials from the ministry of Finance did not only commit to fund Sanganai 2017 but they have already disbursed funds for us to pay all the service providers who supplied goods and services to Sanganai last year but were still owed by the ZTA”, he said.
Kaseke pointed out that the shifting of dates to September was necessitated by the need for adequate preparations.
“More than one third of the exhibition space has already been taken by both local and international exhibitors, a good sign that the business world continue to see value in the fair. A number of foreign exhibitors have already registered, notably those representing South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique,” he said.
This comes as the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism (ZCT) president Tich Hwingwiri said the expo was an essential component of the country’s overall marketing strategy and the possibility of its cancellation had been a major concern for all travel and tourism operators in the country.
“Over the years, the entire sector has rallied behind the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) at this event and it is essential for this year’s expo to take place as scheduled, and for maximum effort to be made to bring in valuable and worthwhile tourism buyers from across the world,” he said.
“Operators from across the entire sector will support through participation and through assisting in making the expo as representative and informative as possible for the buyers and also for members of the public who visit on the open days,” Hwingwiri added.
This was after Tourism minister Walter Mzembi on Monday said the country will be hosting the annual Sanganai/Hlanganani Travel Expo as initially planned, despite an earlier announcement by the ZTA that the premier event had been cancelled due to a serious funding crisis.
“The government is very aware that Sanganai/Hlanganani travel expo has grown to become the second most popular tourism fair on the continent, after Indaba Travel Expo in South Africa and that the expo has transformed into the biggest national tourism fair since 1980, becoming the greatest and most effective marketing and promotional tool for the tourism and travel related industry,” Mzembi said.
Launched in 1982, the fair is the successor of Shanyai/Vakatshani, the Zimbabwe International Travel Expo that was held annually at the Harare International Conference Centre.