The Sunday Mail
DELEGATES taking part in this year’s edition of the annual Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo will get a chance to sample Zimbabwe’s various tourism products.
The 12th edition of the premier expo runs from September 12 to 14. Over 250 exhibitors and 20 countries have confirmed participation. Zimbabwe boasts of numerous tourism attractions. These include the magnificent Eastern Highlands, Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Gweru Military Museum, the mighty Victoria Falls, Chinhoyi Caves and various world class game reserves, among others.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief operating officer Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said buyers will visit various tourism destinations as part of the destination marketing agenda.
The visits will be done before, during and after the Sanganai/Hlanganani expo.
“We are expecting our first visitors to be in the country from the beginning of September. For us, Sanganai is not just a three-day event. lt involves buyers coming in for pre-Sanganai tours while others will stay behind for post-Sanganai/Hlanganani tours,” said Mr Chidzidzi.
ZTA head of corporate affairs Mr Godfrey Koti added, “We want the buyers to get a full appreciation of what we have on offer. By physically visiting, they will get to connect with the destinations.”
“They will be divided into groups, with each group getting a chance to sample at least three attractions. We want both local and foreign delegates to take part as this will be in line with our agenda to promote both domestic and international tourism.”
Bulawayo province remains the major beneficiary of the expo. Since 2016, Sanganai/Hlanganani has been held in the province at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre.
Pundits opine that the event is gradually turning the City of Kings and Queens into a tourism hub of repute. Bulawayo boasts of numerous tourism attractions which are yet to be fully exploited. Among them is a rich history heritage, for example King Lobengula’s settlement, which can be an attraction for tourists.
The same applies to Cecil John Rhodes’s grave at Matopo Hills. ln addition, the city is a cultural hub for people from different ethnic groups. Bulawayo is also home to the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe, which was the first to be set up in the country. lt is also the biggest museum in the country.
Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces are also home to tourism destinations. One of the Seven Wonders of the World — the mighty Victoria Falls — as well as Hwange National Park, are situated in Matabeleland North province.
Matabeleland South province stands tall with attractions like Nsimbi Caves, Garanyemba Mountains, Lumene Falls, Fort Tuli and Rhodes Indaba. The Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) reckons this year’s Sanganai/ Hlanganani edition will be a notch higher than previous editions.
“Considering the enthusiasm and resilience of the businesses and service providers, this year’s Sanganai/ Hlanganani will be a huge success,” sid TBCZ chief executive Mr Paul Matamisa.
Tourism is one of the major pillars of the country’s economy. Revenues in the sector have been on an upward trajectory as a result of Government’s re-engagement drive. The Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) identifies tourism as a critical piece of the puzzle in the attainment of Vision 2030.
Sanganai/Hlanganani seeks to boost business to business exchanges through networking between accommodation providers, tour operators, local authorities and suppliers. The Fair is the successor of Shanyai/Vakatshani, the Zimbabwe International Travel Expo (ZITE) that was previously held annually at the Harare International Conference Centre.
ZITE started as a small expo in 1982. Over the years, it grew to become one of Africa’s leading tourism showcases.