Thandeka Matebesi, Business Reporter
AT least 77 percent of exhibition space has been taken up by exhibitors for this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, a slight increase from the 71 percent that had been sold at the same time last year.
This year’s exhibition takes place from 23 to 27 April at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo, under the theme, “Propagating Industrial Growth through Trade and Investment”.
This year’s exhibition is the 60th consecutive edition of the show. ZITF Company marketing and public relations manager Miss Stella Nkomo said bookings were still in progress.
“To date 77 percent of the available space has been taken up by a total of 236 direct exhibitors. This compares favourably with the booking situation at the same time last year, where 71 percent of the available space had been taken up by 206 exhibitors. A total of 49 631 square metres of space has been made available for sale including five exhibition halls, over 120 individual pavilions and over 10 000 sq metres of external or open sites.
“Enquiries and bookings continue to come through on a daily basis and projections are that the show will be successful and well-represented in terms of both local and international participation,” she said.
She also said at least four countries had confirmed their participation in this year’s show.
“Interests on the international front have been high with four countries having confirmed participation namely, Ethiopia, Japan, Malawi and Mozambique,” said Miss Nkomo.
Miss Nkomo said they had already engaged players in the tourism and hospitality industry through their respective bodies to ensure adequate and affordable accommodation for tourists.
“Because of the high level of interest in the show, organisers anticipate an increased demand for accommodation services during ZITF 2019. Consequently, ZITF has already engaged local accommodation operators individually and through apex bodies such as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to discuss issues of availability, pricing and customer service.
“The industry has given assurances that it is equal to the task through the hotels, lodges, guest houses and private homes dotted throughout the city. As a value-add to participants at this year’s show, ZITF has retained the service of its strategic partner Ecological Safaris to assist exhibitors in finding suitable accommodation.”
She said her company has also come up with packages as part of their efforts to profile Bulawayo as a preferred business tourism destination.
“Additionally, ZITF is in discussions with local tour operators to come up with tailored tour packages that will provide visitors with a rounded experience of not just the exhibition but of the host city, Bulawayo. This is in line with international trade exhibition trends and is part of ZITF’s greater strategy,” said Miss Nkomo.