The Sunday News
Allan Foti, Tourism Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority last week successfully participated in the Meetings Africa business expo which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Meetings Africa is an expo that showcases the continent’s diverse offering of services and products where African associations and African meetings industry professionals can partner to help transform the continent. In the last five years (between 2013 and 2017) Meetings Africa has hosted over
1 000 international and regional buyers, 1 336 exhibitors and over 7 000 visitors.
Speaking to Sunday News after his return from the expo, ZTA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Karikoga Kaseke said their tour was a success.
“We are grateful to Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga who ensured that funds were made available for us to exhibit at Meetings Africa. For a while it was touch and go, but the Vice-President moved mountains and enabled us to attend the expo,” said Mr Kaseke.
The ZTA chief executive said the exhibition was a success for both the authority and the Ministry of Tourism whose delegation was led by its line Minister, Honourable Prisca Mupfumira.
“In our view, the exhibition was a major success for the authority and the Ministry of Tourism which was represented by Minister Prisca Mupfumira.
Both organisations had relative success from their interactions with stakeholders in tourism and business from both the region and internationally,” he said.
Mr Kaseke said most of their interactions addressed key concerns by regional and international buyers and businesspeople about the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe and the forex challenges the country is facing. He said the minister was able to address these concerns and explain the Government’s efforts to mitigate them and make destination Zimbabwe a viable business option.
“Most of the interactions the minister and the authority had were with people whose major concern was the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe as well as the forex challenges. However, the minister was able to put them at ease and explained that Zimbabwe was open for business and was addressing these concerns,” Mr Kaseke said.
ZTA spokesperson, Mr Godfrey Koti who also travelled to South Africa said his authority was happy with the level of interaction that was attained at the expo. Mr Koti said most of the regional and international buyers who spoke to the ZTA was happy with the new political dispensation in the country and were ready to do business with Zimbabwe.
“Most of the buyers that spoke to us were happy with the new dispensation in Zimbabwe and were ready to market and sell brand Zimbabwe. Although I don’t have figures, I know that there are a number of buyers who have begun to book their clients to visit the country all the way through to December,” Mr Koti said.
Mr Koti said Meetings Africa had presented the ZTA and the Ministry of Tourism with an opportunity to tell the world about the positive changes being effected in the country making it a viable destination again.