Wallace Ruzvidzo Herald Reporter
The 12th Edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Expo 2019, which starts in Bulawayo tomorrow, has been handed a big boost, as world record adventurer and internationally-acclaimed conservationist, Holly Budge, is part of an A-list of celebrities set to grace Expo.
Budge, who is the record holder for being the first woman to skydive Mt Everest and race semi-wild horses 1 000 kilometres across Mangolia in nine days, will attend the tourism expo in an effort to encourage women in tourism to think bigger.
Her other successes include summiting Mt Everest, leading an expedition on Mt Ama Dablam, in Nepal, and making a successful ascent in the Altai Mountains, which stretches over Central and East Asia covering Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan.
The World Tourism Expo, an annual tourism trade fair organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), runs from September 12 to 14 at the ZITF Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo, with more than 100 international buyers expected to attend.
Africa Conservation Travel director Shelley Cox said they were looking forward to linking up with international and regional buyers to show them what Zimbabwe has to offer on the tourism and conservation front as it is a perfect opportunity for tourism trade promotion.
“As the annual Sanganai World Tourism Expo approaches, we at Africa Conservation Travel are looking forward to connecting with the international and regional buyers and media who will be attending, to showcase all that Zimbabwe has to offer from a tourism and conservation perspective,” she said.
“To that end, working with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, we have managed to arrange for the internationally acclaimed female adventurer, conservationist, and motivational speaker Holly Budge to join the workshop in an effort to encourage women in tourism to think big and dream bigger.”
Cox highlighted that she was thrilled by the inclusion of a “Women in Tourism” workshop which has been included in this year’s conference, as it aims to empower and equip women in the industry.
“I am particularly excited about the inclusion of a ‘Women in Tourism’ capacity building workshop which has been included in this year’s conference to empower and equip women in the industry with the necessary skills to enhance the development and rise of women in the industry,” said Cox.
ZTA head of corporate affairs Godfrey Koti said 20 countries including India, China, Italy, Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique have confirmed their participation.
He said that the calibre of participants from outside the country is an exciting prospect and encouraged exhibitors, visitors, buyers and investors to use the opportunity to establish strategic business partnerships with world tourism players.
“We are excited by the calibre of exhibitors and buyers from outside the country,” said Koti.
“At this time, we can confirm that preparations are at an advanced stage for this mega event and already we have over 250 exhibitors who have registered and most of our international buyers and exhibitors have started arriving.
“About 20 countries have confirmed their participation these include India, China, Italy, Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.
“This is going to be a two-day event in which we seek to showcase and promote Zimbabwe for MICE, which is Meetings, Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions.”