By Byron Mutingwende
The Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo will now be held towards the end of September despite earlier indications that it would not be available this year.
Speaking during a press conference held at the New Ambassador Hotel on Thursday, Karikoga Kaseke, the Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), said that the new development was prompted by the commitment made by the government to fund the expo and pay all the debts that were incurred during the previous edition of the Sanganai? Hlanganani Expo.
Kaseke revealed that following a meeting between the ZTA and the Ministry of Finance this week, a commitment was made to fund Sanganai 2017 and pay all the service providers who supplied goods and services during last year’s expo. There are also sufficient funds to start preparations for the expo.
“The Authority is excited about this development and have agreed to push dates forward to enable proper planning and to re-activate a robust international buyer recruitment and selection process. The fair will now be held from 27 to 30 September 2017 in Bulawayo at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair,” Kaseke said.
Since Sanganai is a global event recognised as a Travel Fair by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the government support would keep the Sananganai Flame burning, Kaseke added. Focus was on improving business facilitation, quality of deals and business connections between exhibitors and buyers.
Tich Hwingwiri, the President of the Zimbabwe Council of Tourism weighed in by pledging the tourism sector’s support to such initiatives. Currently, both local and international exhibitors have already taken more than a third of the exhibition space.