Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company has proposed to hold this year’s trade showcase in September.
This comes after Cabinet postponed the ZITF which was supposed to be held from July 20 to 23 following an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.
Eleven countries had confirmed participation, namely Angola, Belarus, Botswana, Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.
In a letter addressed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr Sekai Nzenza the ZITF company has proposed September 21-24 and September 28 – 1 October as the new dates.
ZITF Company board chairman, Mr Busisa Moyo said this will allow exhibitors and potential visitors to reschedule their preparations with ample time and also allow the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic to subside.
“We have been ceased with the matter of adjusting ZITF dates which were originally 20-23 July but now require review of the appropriateness of holding the event on these dates in light of the rise in Covid-19 cases. Our local as well as foreign exhibitors are gravely concerned about travelling and exhibiting given the current trajectory of the pandemic in Zimbabwe. Indeed, His Excellency Honourable E D Mnangagwa, The President made a special announcement and placed the country at Lockdown: Level 4. In light of the foregoing, we therefore recommend the following alternative dates: 21-24 September 2021 and 28 September to 1 October 2021,” said Mr Moyo in the letter.
The ZITF this year will be held under tight Covid-19 mitigation protocols under the theme: “Showcasing the New Normal for Business & Industry: Realities and Opportunities.”
The theme acknowledges that ZITF 2021 is taking place against the backdrop of Covid-19 and, as such, calls for multi-stakeholder engagement in forging innovative sustainable business models, economic and trade re-engagement.
ZITF Company board chairman, Mr Busisa Moyo, said exhibitors were eager to resume face-to-face trade show participation to increase awareness of their companies’ products and services following the unprecedented disruption of the fair in 2020.
He said pace bookings had reached 90 percent to capacity with 405 direct exhibitors having booked 44 878sqm out of the 49 547sqm, which had been made available for sale.
Mr Moyo said a number of strategies had been put in place to adhere to Covid-19 regulations.
These include but are not limited to; recruitment of a dedicated team tasked with monitoring and encouraging compliance with prescribed regulations, installation of sanitisation equipment at strategic locations within the exhibition centre, such as gates, exhibition hall points of entry and exit, registration and information centres.
He said virtual formats will be adopted for some of the key activities/events or meetings to reduce the numbers of people physically present in venues. There will also be pre-sales of attendance tickets and pre-registration for concurrent events. — @DubeMatutu