Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
PREPARATIONS for the 11th edition of the Sanganai/Hlanganani tourism fair are underway with players in the sector saying they are ready for the show.
This year’s tourism fair will be held from September 3 to 6 at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo.
In separate interviews yesterday, tourism players expressed their readiness.
Forestry Lodge business development and marketing manager Mr Enoch Mandura said:
“We are already prepared for the 2018 Sanganai/Hlanganani tourism fair and we have already made arrangements for booking our floor space and as it is now we are working on our display material. We are doing our indoor displays trying to find out what we will put up on our stands.”
Mr Mandura said his organisation had since increased the exhibition space from the traditional nine square metres to 18 square metres due to overwhelming response they have received from potential buyers at previous editions of the tourism fair.
“Since it’s an international show, we are looking at interfacing with possible players from all over the world.
“The tourism show has previously been a good hunting ground for us especially for attracting tourists from the international market. In the previous years, we have managed to get some contacts that have given us good lead in terms of doing business in the tourism industry,” he said.
Mr Mandura said Government was already working on creating a conducive environment for the growth of tourism and people seem to have heeded the President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa’s calls for peace.
Silwane Tours and Safaris director Mr Sihawuliso Sibanda was upbeat about this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani saying it was coming on the back of a new Government led by President Mnangagwa who has said Zimbabwe is open for business.
“I think this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani tourism fair will be a massive one as it is being held for the first time under a new political administration following the resignation of former President Mr Robert Mugabe last November.
“The people are very excited and raring to go and in terms of preparedness we want to make it slightly different from what we did last year. All our three offices in Bulawayo, Harare and Victoria Falls will be represented at this year’s fair,” he said.
Mr Sibanda said his company looked forward to good business this year as the number of buyers promise to be higher compared to previous years.
“During the fair we are planning to take exhibitors and buyers to different tourist attractions in Bulawayo and other areas so that they become our ambassadors when they return to their respective countries,” he said.
An official from Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe who refused to be named citing professional reasons, said his organisation had stepped up preparations for this year’s tourism showcase which is expected be bigger and better compared to previous editions.
Last year, the fair which attracted 29 foreign companies from 11 countries among them South Africa, Uganda, Egypt, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania, saw 350 exhibitors and 224 international buyers participating.
In 2016, the tourism expo attracted 236 exhibitors and 118 international buyers.