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ZITF hits 100% booking, first time in years

by Staff Reporter
04 Apr 2018 at 08:52hrs | Views
IT'S full steam ahead of this year's edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo with booking space already at 100 percent for the first time in years.

Positive domestic and international sentiment under the new political dispensation is at play as more businesses seek participation in this year's prime trade showcase, organisers have said.

President Mnangagwa will officially open the trade fair in the second largest city later this month. Last Thursday, the ZITF Company conducted a closed stakeholder meeting meant to tie up loose ends and ensure a successful hosting of this year's edition of the show. During the gathering participants were briefed about the state of preparedness for the show and told of increased bookings, which have clocked 100 percent.

"ZITF 2018 is fully booked, 100 percent. Exhibition space has been taken up," the company tweeted.

Hotels and lodges have said they were fully booked for the event. In view of increased demand for accommodation, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has encouraged private homes to register with the authority to provide accommodation for guests but urged restraint on the charges. The security services industry has also pledged to ensure peace and safety for the duration of the programme.

Marketing and public relations manager, Ms Stella Nkomo, however, could not be drawn into commenting yesterday saying further details will be given at a press conference scheduled for tomorrow.

"I'm not in a position to give further details at the moment as this will pre-empt the general manager's address. More information will be given at the press conference on Thursday," she said.

The show will run from 24 to 28 April under the theme, "Sustainable Industrial Development-Inclusive, competitive, collaborative."

Over the years the number of bookings during the annual ZITF exhibition ranged between 85 and 95 percent. Last year's 58th edition saw the company selling about 86 percent exhibition space, which represents over 42 000 square metres to 385 direct exhibitors, with only seven percent being international companies.

Despite low foreign participation, local participants took up 93 percent of the exhibition space. The 2016 edition of the annual trade showcase attracted 96 percent bookings, which is equivalent to 45 683 sq m of space. The biggest exhibitor in that year was Zimbabwe's traditional biggest trading partner, South Africa. The edition attracted about 404 direct exhibitors, compared to the closing total of 387 the previous year. The figure included 32 direct foreign exhibitors, the same as was achieved in 2015.

More countries that used to exhibit at the trade extravaganza had stopped for various reasons but appear to have indicated interest to exhibit this year, according to the ZITF Company.

Countries that have already booked participation include Botswana, Ethiopia, Japan, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. Cyprus and India have also confirmed their participation and will be represented by individual companies from those countries.

The overwhelming responses from exhibitors saw the company increasing exhibition space from 48 400 square metres last year to 51 400 this year.

The thrust of the ZITF is to contribute to the national agenda of pursuing industrialisation as the key to economic growth and development. As such, the ZITF Company will host the International Business Conference, Original Equipment Manufacturers' Forum and a new addition to the programme, the Innovators Forum, which seeks to address industry challenges by linking practitioners with researchers and innovators.

The ZITF is one of the largest intra-regional trade fairs south of the Sahara. An annual exhibition which offers exposure to trade and public visitors, the multi-sectoral, multi-national expo provides a convenient trade hub for the region.

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