BUSINESS WRITER 14 April 2017
HARARE – 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
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
“. . . 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.