THE country’s premier tourism exhibition A’sambeni Africa Business Tourism Expo, running concurrently with the ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) has attracted 20 international buyers who are eager to market Zimbabwe’s tourism product, an official has said.
ZITF chairman Bekithemba Nkomo said the buyers would be expected to link local buyers with international markets.
“This year’s expo has attracted local and international participants displaying a mix of business tourism-related products and services. We welcomed the arrival of the elite 20 for regional meetings, incentives, conventions and events with buyers, eager to sample and promote the best of local Zimbabwe MICE tourism,” he said.
The MICE sector comprises one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry – generating high foreign exchange revenue for economies worldwide.
The sector has long been recognised as a sector that draws lucrative direct and indirect revenue for host destinations. The foreign countries exhibiting under A’sambeni include Egypt, Iran and South Africa.
Nkomo said the prime mandate of the buyers is to source new markets, link local buyers with international clients as well as to promote the country as a prime destination for meetings and conventions.
Besides attending the exhibition, the buyers would tour Bulawayo facilities and visit Hwange and Matopos national parks and Victoria Falls.
A’sambeni is a separate exhibition within ZITF which offers an efficient way to come face to face with industry leaders in the local and regional tourism sector.
The country’s tourism sector contributes 10% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 13% of employment in the economy.
In 2013 the sector grew by 3, 4%, recording a marginal increase in tourism arrivals to 1,8 million from 1,7 million arrivals in 2012. The sector is expected to contribute 15% to GDP in 2015.