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Sanganai buyers troop in

By Munyaradzi Doma / Published on Wednesday, 08 Jun 2016 20:31 PM / No Comments / 687 views

8 June 2016
. . . SA team laments Rand/ US$ rate

ZTA Head of Corporate Affairs Sugar Chagonda

SOME international visitors attending the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo have started trooping in.

The organisers believe this shows the international market’s endorsement of Zimbabwe tourism fete.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s Head of Corporate Affairs Sugar Chagonda was at the Harare International Airport welcoming some of the visitors.

“We are very happy to be receiving our international buyers as well as international media who have already started trooping in to attend this year’s edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo.

“As you know there is no tourism expo to talk about when you don’t have buyers, there is no expo to talk about when you don’t have international media so their coming in clear cut confirmation that Sanganai/Hlanganani

World Tourism Expo is really taking place and we are very much excited,” said Chagonda.
While the expo only begins next week from the 16th to 18th of June, international buyers and international media have already started coming in, Chagonda said they will be “undertaking some tours, some familiarisation tours.

Some of the buyers
Some of the buyers

“Some of them will be going to Kariba, they will be going to Victoria Falls with the hope of seeing the situation and seeing the product so that when they go back they will definitely package Zimbabwe so we are very much happy.

“And so far we have buyers from Kenya, from Rwanda, from South Africa, from Italy, from America so we are very much excited and all in all we are looking forward to receiving about 128 buyers so we are very much happy.

“In terms of media we are expecting about 19 international journalists and I think that is no mean achievement, we definitely need international media so that they can see for themselves the situation that is obtaining in the country.

“Their coming is good news for us and it is confirmation that Sanganai is taking place and we are very happy to be hosting them,” said Chagonda.

Chagonda added that it was also good to note that the number of international buyers had increased from just over 100 to 128 this year.

“And last year we also had 128 companies that exhibited in the last edition but this year there is an increase to 169 which is a clear cut indication that people have got greater confidence in Sanganai.

“In terms of foreign exhibitors, this year we have got 58 foreign companies that are coming so that is no mean achievement and we are very much excited because Sanganai is not only a fair for Zimbabweans but it’s a fair where the international world come to meet and discuss tourism. This is a business to business expo and it is actually generating a lot of interest.

“We cannot talk of tourism in Zimbabwe without mentioning Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo, this is quite key, it’s important for us, we can only work around this expo to make sure that we have an impact in terms of arrivals and receipts.

“So we are very happy with how things are shaping up and how this expo has evolved over the years,” added Chagonda.

One buyer from South Africa’s Traveltroll Africa, Gordon Triegaardt said he was looking forward to this year’s edition, adding that he has always attended previous editions.

Gordon Triegaardt
Gordon Triegaardt

“I come to Sanganai every year and I do different parts of the country, this year I’m doing quite an extensive tour of Zimbabwe to see some more of the products, there has also been some refurbished products like in Vic Falls, they have redone some of the hotels there, so I’m looking forward to seeing that.

“I always like some of the products I see in Zimbabwe so this is so good; the only problem is that you guys use the US dollar, so it’s very expensive for us South Africans, so the dollar makes it expensive in Zimbabwe.

“We wish you should get your own currency back again but I do enjoy the country, it’s just interesting and I’m hoping to see some new products, I want to see if there are any differences from last year when I was here, so I’m hoping there has been some product updates, some new refurbishments some new things to see,” said Gordon.

Mel T TIhapi founder and CEO of Mel Prods South Africa a Soweto based female company which creates tour packages said she was happy as it was her first time to be in the country.

Mel South African buyer

“And it’s my first time to the Sanganai as well, I met up with your Deputy Minister of Tourism (Anastancia Ndlovu) at the Durban Indaba last year and she said to me you have, you have to do this event, you have to come through, see what Zimbabwe has got to offer.

“We gonna be bringing about 40 ladies in August to the Victoria Falls so basically I just want to know what you guys really have to offer, I want to experience the hospitality, apparently you guys are very hospitable, you are friendly, you are welcoming, so I would really love to see that, maybe clinch a couple of deals, you know, just to make it more affordable to the SADC region.

“I’m affiliated with the RETOSA (Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa) as well,” said Mel.
She echoed similar sentiments to those of Gordon on the issue of the US dollar versus Rand rate.

“But the most difficult challenge we have is the currency issue, you guys are trading in dollar (US) and I mean I just had to spend R10 000 just to get US$600, I mean that is extensive, that is really bad.

“Meaning that us South Africans can’t really come to Zimbabwe unless we clinch some kind of you know, a deal that we can cross sell each other and we can just you know, cross promote each other.

“So I’m really really hoping to clinch some deals, I want to see everything especially the Victoria Falls, and we take it from there, amaze me, that’s what I’m here for,” added Mel.

On the South African buyers concerns on the expense of the Rand/ US$ rate, Chagonda said the issue had been taken up by authorities.

“It’s something that already has been taken up with the authorities, with the Reserve Bank to see how best our operators can be cushioned because they need to come up with a rate that does promote tourism because we don’t want our tourism to suffer as a result of a decrease in terms of tourists from South Africa.

“Because South Africa is a key market for us, if we are to look at figures from Africa, arrivals from Africa, last year we had about 1 700 000 which was increase from 2014 where we had 1 600 000 and South Africa is the major source market, it contributed about 700 000 arrivals so we certainly need a strategy so that we are not going to experience a decrease from South Africa because it’s a very important market for us, it’s a market that we should continue to nurture,” added Chagonda.

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