Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) acting CEO Givemore Chidzidzi says the authority has had to turn back last minute Sanganai/Hlanganani exhibitors amid a high turn out at the tourism expo.
The festival hit a bump following the demise of former president Robert Mugabe on Friday last week.
However, government moved in to give the tourism expo a go ahead because of its international stature amid high expectation from local tourism players desperate to interact with 170 international buyers who have graced the event.
“We were planning Sanganai/Hlanganani and I am happy Sanganai/Hlanganani has finaly landed. I am happy that what we were projecting has come to fruition,” Chidzidzi told local and international media on the sidelines of the expo Thursday morning.
“In terms of exhibitors we managed to reach 290 exhibitors but guess what? We still have people coming in and inquiring ‘Can we set up our stand?” We have actually stopped them because of the tragedy that befall our country the past days. Just yesterday we were burying a national hero and right now we are in the middle of a funeral of our former president,” Chidzidzi said.
“This event because of its international stature, it was given the clearance that we go ahead. We have people already in the country. So we are proceeding. And that had kind of affected the traction in the preparation. Some exhibitors had thought it may happen they realised ‘no, its happening,’ including some international buyers.”
The 12th edition of the festival kicked off at Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre (ZITF) in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) with culinary tourism demos, speed networking session and tech hubs.
Speed dating is running from 12 – 13 September 2019. At this event exhibitors and buyers have the opportunity to present themselves in short pitches and at the same time seize the opportunity to exchange ideas and start long-term collaborations.
Other networking events earmarked for the festival is the Tourism Research Conference organised by Tourism Educators and Researchers Association of Zimbabwe.
In so far as culinary tourism is concerned, the chefs cook out program will run throughout Sanganai/Hlanganani so as to promote culinary tourism in the country.
Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) CEO Paul Matamisa said business was gratified that Sanganai/Hlanganani was up and running.
“As far as I am concerned when I looked at the stands there was an impressive improvement. There has been alot of effort and people are trying to outdo themselves from previous years,” he said.