More foreign participants at Sanganai Travel Expo

HARARE - The number of foreign exhibitors participating in the forthcoming Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair has increased to 85 from last year’s 24, a possible indication of rising tourists’ confidence in the country.

Over 1 200 exhibitors have confirmed participation.

The Fair brings aboard international tourism wholesalers, potential investors and tourists to Zimbabwe as the country tries to rebound on the international tourism scene, where it had been systematically elbowed out through human rights abuse-induced travel warnings and bans.

Karikoga Kaseke, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive, yesterday said the Fair was set to be bigger this year compared to other years.

“Over 257 stands have been booked this year compared to 206 stands last year. We are happy that we have managed to attain such a high number… in foreign exhibitors. It hasn’t happened in Zimbabwe,” said Kaseke.
 The event – running under the theme ‘Celebrating Africa’s Tourism Diversity’ – is scheduled for October 18-21 at the Harare International Conference Centre.

Exhibitors include KLM Airways, which recently announced that it will be flying to Zimbabwe starting end of this month, embassies and international tour operators among others.

“The tourism industry is hosting 95 buyers. This means that the industry will pay for the buyers' accommodation and flight expenses,” said Kaseke.

About 200 non-hosted buyers are also participating in the Fair, which is recognised on the calendar of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

 "We are having more of non-hosted buyers which shows growth of Sanganai. In the last few years we were bringing the buyers to the Fair,” he said.

Kaseke said the buyers were drawn from Germany, Japan, Poland, the United Kingdom and United States of America.

“This year’s event is unique in that we have pre-arranged meetings for all buyers and all exhibitors for two trade days. This is to allow all exhibitors to interact with international buyers and media,” he said.

 Walter Mzembi, Tourism minister, added that tourists attending this year’s Fair will be treated to cultural and traditional tourism aspects.

“I’ll be leading tourists to Highfield suburb to promote township tourism, which is one the measures to be included in the new Tourism Policy that we are drafting,” said Mzembi.  

The Fair will also witness the return of the Tourism Night after a two year sabbatical, where musical icons Oliver Mtukudzi, Alick Macheso, Sulumani Chimbetu and The Charambas among others are expected to entertain guests. - John Kachembere

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