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Zim tourism operators ready for Durban travel indaba

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A DELEGATION of Zimbabwean government officials, tour operators and hospitality industry players will attend this year’s tourism indaba organised by South African Tourism (SAT) in the usually bright and breezy coastal city of Durban at the beginning of next month.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) corporate affairs executive Godfrey Koti (pictured) told The NewsHawks this week a group of 20 stakeholders have already confirmed they will travel to Durban for Africa’s premier tourism event, which returns after a two-year hiatus due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. More participants are likely to join the delegation as the travel date draws closer, he said.

“We are preparing for the Durban tourism indaba because it’s a big marketing platform for us as ZTA, a government tourism marketing agency. So far we have a delegation of at least 20 people, who include officials, tour organisers, hospitality industry players, safari operators and travel agents ready for the event,” Koti said.

“These stakeholders will be showcasing their products and services, while cutting business deals and building networks that will advance their interests well beyond the event. We are travelling as a group to share costs and we will have our own pavilion at the venue where we will showcase Zimbabwean offers to the world through the event. It’s a great opportunity for business and we will emphasise business-to-business interactions and arrangements. As ZTA our primary focus will be to build linkages and relationships with exhibitors and visitors, especially those from our key source markets which include South Africa, the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. We will vigorously promote the Visit Zimbabwe campaign in Durban.”

After a two-year freeze due to Covid-19 which brought the world to a standstill, Africa’s premier travel indaba will be back and run from 2 May to 5 May in South Africa’s warm coastal city.

Tourism operators, visitors, business, international exhibitors of hospitality products and media will gather in Durban as SAT welcomes delegates from across the continent and the world to connect and do business, contributing to the African continent’s tourism sector recovery.

Zimbabwean tour operators, visitors, businesspeople, exhibitors and media will attend the prestigious event.

Africa’s Travel Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing platforms on the African calendar and one of the top three must-visit events of its kind in the world.

It showcases the widest variety of Africa’s best tourism products and attracts international buyers as well as media from across the world.

Owned by SAT and organised by Synergy Business Events (Pty) Ltd, it has won awards for Africa’s best travel and tourism show, including from the Association of World Travel Awards.

Koti said Zimbabwe will be selling an attractive package of tourism products; a combination of tangible and intangible elements such as natural, cultural and man-made resources, attractions, facilities, services and activities as part of its tourism recovery plan.

Tourism – which the authorities want to build into a US$5 billion industry by 2025 – is one of the sectors the Zimbabwean government under President Emmerson Mnangagwa wants to grow towards its upper middle-income status by 2030. It is guided by the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy, an official tourism blueprint whose implementation is spearheaded by Tourism minister Mangaliso Ndlovu.

“We have a combination of material and intangible elements, tourist attractions, facilities, services and activities in Zimbabwe which we want to sell to potential clients. We are promoting Zimbabwe as a Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) hub; a tourism approach which plans, books and organises conferences, seminars and other events. We will ensure business events held in Zimbabwe are run smoothly in the right environment with a competent and professional staff complement ready to take care of the market needs.”

Zimbabwe is a vibrant host of many festivals and events every year – ranging from domestic tourism events, music concerts, local wine tastings, urban markets and international events as well as cultural activities.

Some of the well-known Zimbabwean events are the International Victoria Falls Carnival and the Kariba Invitation Tiger Fish Tournament, among others.

The country also offers a feast of cultural festivals, food, and drink, which celebrates and showcases the evolution and value of authentic Zimbabwean food, languages, arts, music, crafts and artifacts.

Other notable events include the Harare International Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe International Film Festival, Chimanimani Arts Festival, Shoko Festival, Intwasa Arts Festival, Zimbabwe International Book Fair and the Zimbabwe Fashion Week where designers showcase their creations. To experience a destination is to get a real taste of its essence and be part of its soul through festivals and events.

Koti said the Durban event will give Zimbabwe a great opportunity and motivation to promote tourism through regional and international networks.

Among other things, the Durban travel event brings together southern African tourism players, products and services for interactive trade. Usually exhibitors in the Durban Exhibition Centre includes provincial authorities, provincial products and African countries.

At the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, exhibitors’ categories entail accommodation, tour operators, game lodges, transport, online travel, luxury products, hidden gems, industry associations and media.

Outdoor exhibitors encompass transport, camping and safari companies.

This year’s theme, Africa’s Stories, Your Success, reaffirms the fact that Africa is reclaiming its own narrative and is ready to share with the world inspiring stories of resilience and innovation shown throughout the pandemic.

SAT acting chief executive Mzilikazi Themba Khumalo has urged players in the tourism industry, local, regional and international stakeholders, to come and attend Africa’s Travel Indaba to share ideas and learn new things. He said the event is an African trade show specifically tailored to advancing the continent’s tourism sector needs, with a clear outlook towards recovery.

“We believe that this platform will showcase authentic African experiences and products. Buyers from across the globe will have access to only the best and uniquely African products and experiences,” Khumalo said.

Koti said the event will be a phenomenal springboard to relaunch South Africa and countries like Zimbabwe back to the global arena to start regaining international travel markets back.

At the last edition of Africa’s Travel Indaba in 2019, the show attracted about 6 200 delegates from all over the world, with 1033 exhibiting businesses from 19 countries on the continent, showcasing an array of travel and tourism offerings to almost 1 177 local, regional and international buyers.

Furthermore, around 452 local, regional and international media representatives participated at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019, showing the stature and global profile of the African continent’s tourism industry. 

So far, more than 400 African exhibitors and 454 buyers from 47 countries around the world have confirmed attendance to Africa’s Travel Indaba 2022. – STAFF WRITER.

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