This year’s edition of the Sanganai/Hlanganani Travel and Tourism expo raked in about US$280 million in business deals, surpassing last year’s achievement of US$250 million, a Zimbabwe Tourism Authority official has said. ZTA chief executive, Mr Karikoga Kaseke said this on the final day of the expo in Harare last Saturday.
“Indications are that we managed to slightly surpass the US$250 million and judging from the deals concluded, Sanganai/Hlanganani generated US$280 million. “We actually anticipate that 2014 will be bigger and better in terms of revenue,” he said.
He added that the tourism body will treble the number of local exhibitors and increase the number of international exhibitors by about 50 percent during next year’s event.
Mr Kaseke also urged Government to expedite the creation of a convergence facility for tourism events in order to create more space for potential exhibitors.
“The ever increasing demand for stands should be addressed by the Government through the creation of facilities suitable for travel expos as expo stands had limited space hence the need to invest in a convergence facility,” he added.
This year’s addition also saw the inaugural social media workshop being hosted with a view to encourage local travel and tourism enterprises to learn on the latest developments in the cyber space to improve their competitiveness on the global market.
Addressing participants during the workshop, ZTA chief operating officer, Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said it was now imperative for players in the tourism and travel sector to embrace social media to respond to customer needs effectively.
“It is now imperative for tourism sector players to embrace social media as a marketing tool in order to survive in the ever increasing competition on the global market where you need to be innovative and coherent in responding to customer needs efficiently and effectively,” he said.
Wayn Travel community, a leading travel and tourism online company challenged Zimbabwean tour operators to come on board their platform which has about 22 million users globally.
The company’s sales manager for Africa and the Middle East, Mr Rayaan Ryland said their platform is effective in terms of marketing as witnessed by the number of its users globally.
“Our platform has great influence on travel and buyer destinations and also promotes new destinations, activities and interests around the world.
“Zimbabwean companies could also benefit immensely if they come on board in order to market the Zimbabwean brand to the world,” he said.
Date: 15 October 2013