Mzembi seeks support for ‘must-attend’ fairs

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TOURISM and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi says he will seek funding for the country to participate at “must-attend” fairs in a bid to grow the industry to $5 billion by 2020.

by BUSINESS REPORTER

Last year, the sector generated $856 million from arrivals of 1 880 028 visitors.

Mzembi said on Monday the scale of the must-attend fairs was about 100 times bigger than the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

This year, Zimbabwe failed to participate at the International Tourism Bureau (ITB Berlin) due to unavailability of funds. ITB is regarded as one of the world’s leading travel and tourism fairs alongside the World Travel Market held annually in London.

“We must be found there. In 2006, it was agreed that participation at the fairs should be supported by the government,” Mzembi said.

“There is a slow appreciation of what some of the fairs are to the economy. ”

Mzembi urged the new Zimbabwe Tourism Authority board led by Chipo Mtasa to bring to “account of our own participation going forward related to deals concluded”.

The tourism sector is seen as a low hanging fruit and has the quickest turnaround ahead of other sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture.