Sanganai/Hlanganani to move to Bulawayo

Sanganai/Hlanganani to move to Bulawayo
Published: 23 June 2015
THE government has directed the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) to move the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo to Bulawayo starting next year amid reports 10 foreign exhibitors were locked out from the just ended exhibition in Harare due to a shortage of space.

A total of 328 exhibitors attended the three-day tourism fair, which ended on Saturday at the Harare International Conference Centre under the theme, "Cultural Tourism: Promoting Peace Through Tourism".

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was critical of the organisation of the expo in his official opening remarks upon realising that some participants were turned away.

"We can't have tourism exhibitors being turned away because of shortage of space here (HICC). Can the event be held in Bulawayo next year at the ZITF grounds," said the VP.

Bulawayo has the largest capacity in the country to host international conferences with spacious exhibition halls at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre.

ZTA chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke admitted the shortcomings and said they had taken heed of the government directive to move Sanganai/Hlanganani to Bulawayo starting next year.

He confirmed that limited exhibition space at the Harare International Conference Centre resulted in the tourism authority failing to take up a request by 10 foreign exhibitors to participate at the just ended Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Fair.

"Now that we've been directed to go to Bulawayo next year, foreign companies will be in excess of 50 because no restrictions will be made to companies that would want to come and exhibit at the fair. Sanganai/Hlanganani will be held in Bulawayo starting from next year until the government puts up infrastructure like a convention centre with space. HICC is a hotel, there's no exhibition space," said Kaseke.

"For as long as there is no exhibition space in Harare, we'll continue having it in Bulawayo. Ten foreign companies couldn't exhibit at this year's expo because we had allocated that space to our local companies."

Of the foreign exhibitors who could not participate at the fair, two were from the Middle East and eight from different African countries.

"All our planned exhibition space was taken at this year's Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo. Other companies due to limited exhibition space had to get smaller space than requested.

"We've also refused 10 foreign companies who wanted to participate at Sanganai/Hlanganani Expo because we had allocated that space to our local exhibitors," said Kaseke.

He, however, said this year's Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Fair recorded a 10 percent growth from last year.

"All our planned exhibition space was taken leaving out several more companies who were requesting any tiny possible space available at Sanganai 2015.

"We wish we could expand the venue, which has now become very small for Sanganai. We had 128 companies and 110 buyers participating at this year's edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani, which grew by 10 percent from last year's event.

"There was a 17 percent increase with 23 foreign exhibitors compared to the 10 percent achieved in 2014," said Kaseke.

The ZTA boss said tour operators and buyers had good business and were happy with the quality of exhibits at the showcase.

Zimbabwe Tour Operators Association chairperson, Wengayi Nhau said Sanganai/Hlanganani was a project not to make money but to promote investment.

"The international media for a long time had negative perception about Zimbabwe's tourism but through an event such as Sanganai/Hlanganani we're more inclined to get good coverage in the international media.

"The tourism expo isn't really about striking deals but now that Zimbabwe is back on the international market, the buyers have got an idea of what they're looking for because they've always been in constant touch with the local tour operators," he said.

"The coming of the buyers to Sanganai/Hlanganani is just to reconfirm the contacts."

An official from a Kenyan Tourism Board who preferred not to be named said: "This year's fair is actually bigger and better. We've received a majority of enquiries from France, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The enquiries are about the need to know more about Kenya as a destination and possible investment opportunities in the country."

- chronicle
Tags: Sanganai, Hlangani,

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