Harare exhibitors dominate ZITF

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HARARE companies will again dominate this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) as they account for 55% of exhibitors at the premier event.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

ZITF general manager Nomathemba Ndlovu said exhibitors from the host city, Bulawayo, only constituted 37% of the exhibitors.

Ndlovu told journalists on Wednesday that to date, 412 direct exhibitors had reserved space for ZITF 2015 and the company was still recording bookings.

She said the figure compared favourably with last year’s number of exhibitors that stood at 396.

The exhibitors have taken up 45,018 square metres of space, which represents 91% of the available space.

“In terms of local participation, this year, 55%% of our exhibitors will be coming from Harare (last year was 57%), 37% are from Bulawayo (last year was 35%) while 8% will be coming from other cities and towns in Zimbabwe,” Ndlovu said.

She said foreign participation had also gone up, with 32 organisations having confirmed participation to date.

The 56th edition of ZITF will be held under the theme: Simulating Trade: Seizing opportunities to accelerate growth.

Seventeen countries namely Botswana, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Germany, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Cyprus, Namibia, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, the United States and Zambia would participate.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu is expected to officially open the trade fair, a major highlight on Bulawayo’s business calendar.

Meanwhile, struggling Air Zimbabwe is set to record brisk business during the ZITF) set for April 28 to May 2 amid indications the national carrier will be doing daily morning and evening flights between Harare and Bulawayo to cater for exhibitors.

AirZimbabwe, which is saddled with huge debts, has been flying domestic routes three times a week.

But the national passenger carrier, according to ZITF marketing and public relations manager Stella Nkomo, has had to schedule daily flights to accommodate delegates streaming into Bulawayo for the ZITF.

A return ticket to Bulawayo costs about $300.

Nkomo said the daily flights were scheduled for the convenience of exhibitors who usually face transport challenges during the annual international trade fair.

“ZITF strategic partner and national carrier, Air Zimbabwe has indicated that there will be daily morning and evening flights between Harare and Bulawayo for the convenience of our participants,” she said.

The airline is insolvent and is saddled with a $300 million legacy debt while it requires $260 million in fresh capital.

Air Zimbabwe has three operational aircrafts, two long haul aircrafts the Boeing 767, and one MA60 which is doing domestic routes while the 767 does Harare to Johannesburg.