Senior Business Reporter
AN Australia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) expert, Gary Grimmer, is in the country for a stakeholders engagement programme aimed at boosting revenue in the tourism industry.The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) head of corporate affairs Sugar Chagonda said the MICE expert was also expected to conduct site inspections of conference facilities and incentives properties in Harare and Victoria Falls.
“Zimbabwe this week hosts a renowned MICE expert Gary Grimmer from Australia on a stakeholders’ engagement programme. His visit is being facilitated by ZTA and he is in the country from 14 to 20 February,” said Chagonda.
“While in the country, Grimmer is also expected to conduct site inspections of conference facilities and incentive properties in Harare and Victoria Falls in an effort to ascertain Zimbabwe’s potential to host large conferences and incentive groups.
“He’ll also conduct workshops and meetings with various government departments.”
Chagonda said Grimmer was the chief executive officer of an Australian-based company, Gaining Edge Consultancy that has assisted ZTA to establish a National Conventions Bureau.
The consultancy firm specialises in advising exclusively to the conventions and meetings market worldwide and has also assisted in the setting up and development of most successful convention bureaus in the world among them the Seoul National Conventions Bureau, Japan National Conventions Bureau, and South Africa National Conventions Bureau.
The National Conventions Bureau executive director Tesa Chikaponya said: “MICE Tourism has huge potential to contribute significantly to the national economy if we all work together in identifying and bidding for MICE events. MICE tourism events move large volumes of people with high disposable income and is also capable of bringing in new technologies, value addition and tremendous social change.”
Last year, travel writer and MICE expert Lewis Martin from United Kingdom who visited the country said Zimbabwe’s tourism and hospitality industry has potential to generate over $100 million annually from MICE.
He noted that compared to the rest of the region, Zimbabwe has good amenities but should continue investing in infrastructural development.
Meanwhile, the government has started engaging investors to build conference and exhibition facilities that will meet international standards as the tourism industry wants to capitalise on MICE business to grow the sector.
It is believed that MICE tourism rakes in three times more receipts than leisure tourism with knock-on effects on local hotels in terms of revenue generation.
MICE business also has a huge potential to sustain the country’s economy through revenue generation and employment creation while increasing destination awareness.