Africa: Zimbabwe will reclaim its Tourism Market share says CEO as Sanganai Buyers arrive
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says the country’s political transition and renewed tourist interest in Zimbabwe have ushered in an “exciting time” for the industry, just over a week before it hosts the 2018 Sanganai/Hlanganani world tourism expo in Bulawayo.
The regulatory body, which is also charged with the promotion of sustainable tourism growth and development in the country, will be taking a warlike approach to reviving tourism and “regaining the lost market share”.
“The buyers’ arrival is a clear sign of the confidence that the international market has on destination Zimbabwe, especially with the rejuvenated interest that has been exhibited since November 2017,” ZTA CEO Karikoga Kaseke said in a statement issued on Monday.
“It is such an exciting time for Zimbabwe tourism to leverage on this goodwill, with the major thrust of regaining the lost market share and increasing tourism traffic to Zimbabwe.”
Zimbabwe’s tourism industry has suffered since 2000 when the country started experiencing strained diplomatic relations with a number of western countries, some of which imposed sanctions and other restrictive measures.
In a speech issued in January this year, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya said tourism accounted for 11% of GDP and about 5% of foreign currency earnings.
ZTA has made frantic efforts to sustain the sector through worldwide marketing/promotional campaigns and through international events such as the World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair (Sanganai) and the Harare International Carnival.
Sanganai is an annual tourism trade fair organised to showcase a variety of best tourism products from around Africa. With its great networking opportunities, it attracts international visitors and other stakeholders from across the world.
Kaseke said 23 countries from around the world had confirmed participation in the expo to be held from September 6 to 8 while as many as 300 companies had been booked to exhibit.
Participating countries include Botswana, South Africa, Malawi Mozambique, the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Belgium and France.
“These are not the countries where the buyers are coming from, but these are exhibiting at the Sanganai expo,” said Kaseke.
“We have not changed the venue; we are still using the ZITF venue in Bulawayo. You remember when we said we are taking Sanganai to Bulawayo, the main reason was we were trying to use Sanganai as a tool to do as much as we can possibly do with Sanganai to revive the tourism economy in Bulawayo,” Kaseke said.
BY KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA/TAFADZWA MUTACHA