Preparations for the annual Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo have resumed despite earlier fears the event might be shelved due to financial constraints, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has confirmed.
Briefing journalist on the new development, ZTA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Karikoga Kaseke dowsed earlier fears that the event would be put on hold owing to non-availability of funds.
Kaseke said the event will now be held from 27-30 September 2017 in Bulawayo following interventions by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development committing to bankroll the event.
“The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority would like to inform its esteemed tourism partners, stakeholders and the nation at large, that Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo 2017 preparations have been resumed. This is despite our previously announced possibility of cancelling the event due to lack of funding.
“The new development has been prompted by the commitment made by the government to fund the expo and also to pay all the debts that were incurred during previous edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani Expo.
“In a meeting held between the ZTA and the Ministry of Finance on the 11th of April 2017, officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development did not only commit to fund Sanganai 2017 but they have already disbursed funds for us to pay all the service providers who supplied goods and services to Sanganai last year but were still being owed by the ZTA,” said Kaseke.
The ZTA boss further said “the Authority is excited about this development and have agreed to push the dates forward to enable proper planning and to re-activate a robust international buyer recruitment and selection process,”
Earlier this year, Kaseke made sensational claims that the event would be shelved after ZTA had failed to secure funds to host the event.
However, Tourism and Hospitality Minister was quick to dismiss Kaseke’s claims saying ZTA had not requested for help from government, reiterating that government was willing to bankroll the tourism extravaganza as it has the potential to attract visitors into the country.
The Sanganai/Hlanganani Expo is also seen as a major tourism event on the tourism calendar as it generates revenue for the tourism industry.
According to Kaseke, the focus will now be on improving business facilitation, quality of deals and business connections between the ZTA exhibitors and buyers.
He appealed to tourism industry players not to despair with the previous reports but to celebrate as the show is now on.
He said a number of foreign exhibitors had already expressed interest in exhibiting at the expo.
“The ZTA is investing all its efforts and energy to deliver a great Travel Fair. As we speak more than one third of the exhibition space has already been taken by both local and international exhibitors, a good sign that the business world continue to see value in the fair.
“A number of foreign exhibitors have already registered, notably those representing South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique,” said Kaseke while adding that more exhibitors especially from Southern Africa are expected to confirm soon as the majority of them have shown a lot of interest in the show.
He further indicated that the Authority is inviting all its stakeholders to join the tourism family in celebrating the 10th anniversary of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism expo in Bulawayo, where the ZTA will be honouring those exhibitors and partners that have consistently walked a decade journey with Sanganai/Hlanganani.