Construction of convention centres key: Kaseke

HARARE - Government must prioritise the construction of convention centres to boost the country’s tourism earnings, Zimbabwe Tourism Association (ZTA) chief executive said.

Karikoga Kaseke told a press briefing in the capital on Thursday that the country was incapacitated to host conventions as it does not have a single convention centre.

“At the moment South Africa is the top convention host in sub Saharan Africa, it is our dream to be second before we host the world cup.

Walter Muzembi, Tourism minister has recently revealed an ambitious plan for Zimbabwe  to host the 2034 Fifa football world cup.

“Why second? We want to be realistic with our prospects. If government has failed local authorities can help as they will immensely benefit from these facilities too,” Kaseke told the press briefing, which was being held in light of the upcoming Jehovah’s Witness Convention to be held this week. Kaseke also said ZTA had crafted a special wing to deal with business tourism in the country, in the form of the National Convergence Bureau (NCB).

The NCB, according to Kaseke is aimed at helping local players who want to host, bid and organise for international business conferences.

“We will only host conventions as a country after government builds convention facilities. The ministry of Finance is aware of this problem, our efforts with the NCB are meant to cushion our earnings,” he said.

The ZTA boss said the country had received an offer from Anjin, who built the Long Cheng Plaza, to build a hotel accompanying a convention centre should government build one as it is government responsibility to construct convention centres.

Meanwhile, Harare is expected to host an excess of 3 500 international delegates and over 42 000 locals for the Jehovah's Witnesses Convention. Kaseke said the convention was important for the country as it constituted religious tourism.

Carl Lindstrom, Jehovah’s Witness Special Events Coordinator told journalists at the same event the church was forking out over $1 million for the food and entertainment costs for the conference.

“Delegates have booked over 16 hotels and 37 lodges; I cannot give you the exact figures the delegates are going to be spending on their accommodation.

“However, the church will foot all food and entertainment-related costs, as the delegates shall be taken to wildlife parks around the capital. This on its own will cost over a million dollars,” Lindstrom said. The convention will be held from August 22 to August 24.

“We are very glad the Witnesses bided for this convention as it will immensely benefit the country,” said Kaseke.

This comes as Tourism minister Walter Mzembi announced he intends grow the country’s annual tourism earning from $1 billion as of December to $5 billion in 2020.

Mzembi said 20 percent of the $5 billion is expected to come from religious tourism hence the ministry’s deliberate attempt to promote the type of tourism.

Comments (1)

zvoroto chaizvo

tika tika - 17 August 2014

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