HARARE, June 3 (The Source) – The hosting of Zimbabwe’s tourism travel showcase, Sanganai/Hlanganani, which was doubtful for this year is back on track after government chipped in with a last minute $500,000 bailout, an official said on Friday.
Sanganai/Hlanganai, to be hosted from June 16 to 18in Bulawayo this year, is the country’s premier showcase that is now officially recognised on the world tourism calendar and has been successfully hosted every year for the past decade.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) acting chief executive, GivemoreChidzidzi told journalists “talks for funding had yielded positive results.”
Government has been funding the hosting of the travel show since 2008.
“We have been assured that funding for this year’s edition is now in place,” said Chidzidzi, whose organisation is tasked with organising the showcase.
“We are all aware of the challenges that our nation is going through and ordinarily events like Sanganai would not take place over other pressing national issues and we would like to thank government for the support.”
Hosting Sanganai/Hlanganani costs a minimum of $1 million and the ZTA as well as the private sector would contribute the remainder in various forms, he said.
Chidzidzi said ZTA had been contemplating “indefinitely postponing the event” this year as there had been no assurances for financial support from government in the last few months.
He said the number of exhibitors to take part in the showcase had gone up to 169 from 128 last year, with 128 buyers having confirmed their participation at the event.
“The first group of buyers is expected to arrive in the country on June 6,” he said.
At least 28 foreign exhibitors will participate at the event to be covered by 19 international journalists from countries such as United Kingdom and Spain, he said.
Chidzidzi said Sanganai/Hlanganani was not a money spinning venture.
“Sangani is but a marketing tool, very few travel shows like the ITB in Germany make money,” he said.
He said support for tourism was critical for the sector to play its part in the economic growth agenda and job creation.
“Tourism is indeed a low hanging fruit but if there is no investment it will remain a low hanging fruit that we do not benefit from, that is why government is funding it,” he said.
Zimbabwe Council for Tourism chief executive Paul Matamisa said private sector support was critical for the success of the event.
“Sanganai is our major show where we have to put of best foot forward to market the destinations so I urge the private sector to support the event,” he said.