Sandra Maziwisa business reporter
Over 100 exhibitors and more than 60 buyers are taking part in this year’s edition of the Sanganai / Hlanganani World Tourism Expo, which started on Wednesday and ends today.
However, the number of participants has decreased significantly due to the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was said by Guest of Honor and Acting Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Jenfan Muswere at the official opening of the event.
This is because the Zimbabwean tourism industry has invested over $ 100 million in refreshing facilities ahead of the Covid-19 recovery.
Statistics from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority show that visitors to Zimbabwe fell from 2.3 million in 2019 to 639,000 last year due to the impact of the pandemic.
However, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Munesu Munodawafa said the country’s tourism industry has recently recovered and most hotels will be fully booked by December 2021.
This year’s 14th edition of the Tourism Expo will take place virtually over three days, so that industry experts and international travel buyers can interact on the platform without having to worry about physical barriers.
The focus was on ensuring that Zimbabwe’s tourism industry grew into a $ 5 billion industry by 2025, Minister Muswere said.
He said Zimbabwe prides itself on being the safest tourism destination in the world with great potential to surpass the 639,000 visitors who visited Zimbabwe in 2019.
âIn 2021 we need to use more numbers to ensure that Zimbabwe is the preferred tourist destination. The government has also developed a number of measures related to ICT infrastructure to ensure that everyone who visits a tourist destination is connected. “
The Sanganai / Hlanganani World Tourism Expo will offer tourism players a platform to open up international and regional source markets.
âIt is a platform where exhibitors and buyers meet, a platform where buyers secure business packages from Zimbabwe and Africa.
It is a platform where the use of ICT is now changing the rules of the game and this year’s conference is a hybrid conference where the use of ICT is the catalyst and is more than important, ” said Minister Muswere.
“Zimbabwe has a number of tourist destinations in every province of the country – all sectors of the economy will make Zimbabwe the number one tourist destination,” he said.
The Sanganai / Hlanganani World Tourism Expo is an annual tourism fair organized by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
It showcases the greatest variety of Africa’s best tourism products and attracts international visitors and media from around the world.
Past editions of the Expo have been a resounding success, attracting leading African travel destinations and the world’s major tourism markets including South Africa, Botswana, Malaysia, China, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Indonesia, India and Italy.