More than 70 international buyers have confirmed participation at this year’s 5th edition of the annual Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair, an official from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has said.
This year’s edition, running under the theme “Celebrating Africa’s Tourism Diversity”, will run from October 17 to 21 at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).
ZTA head of corporate affairs Mr Sugar Chagonda said this year’s expo was expected to be bigger.
He said buyers were already making inquiries about bookings before the official announcement of the expo.
“From the time the event was introduced, it has been getting stronger with each passing year. So far we are happy with the response that is coming from the would-be Sanganai exhibitors for this year,” said Mr Chagonda.
He said more than 70 international buyers and 20 international journalists had already confirmed participation.
“The figure of actual confirmation that we have received at the moment is an indication that our preparations are on course and that we are most likely going to surpass the number of exhibitors that we have registered over the years,” he noted.
Added Mr Chagonda: “Since the event is where the world meets Africa, we hope the international journalists that are going to be part of the expo will help improve the continent’s perception abroad.”
Countries that have already confirmed participation include the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Japan, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Australia and China.
“More exhibitors have indicated that they are coming, and we are certain that by the end of September, the figures will have surpassed those recorded last year,” said Mr Chagonda.
“Sanganai/Hlanganani is like our own version of South Africa’s Indaba or Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) in Germany hence the need to make sure the event attracts the right attention.
This year, a Tourism Business Forum will be held on October 18 where local and foreign guest speakers will make presentations on different topics affecting tourism.
The tourism authority has been on a drive to counter negative publicity emanating from some Western countries that band Zimbabwe as an unsafe tourist destination. The drive is bearing fruit as evidenced by a steady increase in tourist arrivals. According to the ZTA, tourist arrivals surged by 18 percent in the first quarter of this year to 346 299, up from 294 198 recorded in the same period last year.