Nkosilathi Sibanda, Business Reporter
TOP tourism players and industry think-tanks in the country are this week expected to charter the course that will shape the future of the sector as they meet for the A’Sambeni Africa Business Tourism Expo.
A’Sambeni will run at the same time with the 59th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) that starts from Tuesday to Saturday in Bulawayo.
Given the interest that has gripped the industry following the Government’s call for an “open business approach”, A’Sambeni presents an opportunity for players to strike deals and boost growth.
What makes this year’s edition a draw card for tourism growth are the statistics from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and stakeholders that point to an increase in the number of visitors coming to the country.
ZTA estimates the industry to grow by more than 20 per cent this year due to renewed interest in the country’s destination.
By far, tourism recorded the most positive show on future investment.
ZITF Company board chairman Ms Ruth Ncube in her media briefing highlighted that A’Sambeni is set to present a renewed look on how industry has to maximise on regional and global platforms that concentrate on Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (Mice).
“A’Sambeni Africa Business Tourism Expo will give spotlight on Zimbabwe as a premier destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and events. This is one of ZITF’s prime exhibitions and it is expected that many players in the business tourism will attend,” she said.
Ms Ncube said the annual event will attract more visitors compared to last year given the high interest shown by both international and local companies.
The 59th edition of the ZITF, according to the organisers has attracted more than 18 countries.
“The focal point of the A’Sambeni Expo is to highlight this arena, with a view to capitalise and develop travel and tourism interest in Zimbabwe particularly, and in Africa as a whole,” she said.
A’Sambeni opens a calendar of a series of engagements that will culminate into other expos that include the Sanganai/Hlanganani and the Harare International Carnival scheduled for some time this year.