Dickson Mangena, Business Reporter
A total of 13 tourism companies participated in this year’s A’sambeni Tourism Expo which ran concurrently with the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo last week.
A’sambeni expo is a tourism fair that runs alongside ZITF in a partnership between the ZITF Company and ZTA, a tourism promotion body.
According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief operating officer Mr Givemore Chidzidzi, about 13 tourism companies attended this year’s A’sambeni tourism expo, a significant drop from previous years.
“This year there is a decline in attendance for tourism industries and we have about 13 that have taken part. In previous fairs we could have up to an excess of 30 players. One of the challenges is that there are two tourism events that happen close to each other, the A’sambeni and the Sanganai,” said Mr Chidzidzi
He said some of the tourism companies could not afford to attend the two events.
“We cannot deny that there is an issue with finance at the moment, and some operators have opted to attend one of the fairs, the Sanganai to the Asambeni,” said Mr Chidzidzi.
Mr Chidzidzi, however, said tourism operators stood to benefit a lot from the ZITF as the event incorporated businesses from other sectors pf the economy.
“The trade fair is, however, an advantage to tourism operators who may get time to meet the corporate guys that are doing most of the travelling. As ZTA we are also pushing Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism and most people that do attend the conferences come to the ZITF,” said Mr Chidzidzi.
He said most hotels were now surviving on hosting conferences and meetings.
“We cannot deny that most hotels are now surviving on hosting conferences and meetings and that is not bad. We are working with a number of sectors in the Government who go for conferences in other countries in trying to bid for more conferences locally,” said Mr Chidzidzi.