THE Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company is engaging foreign missions to Zimbabwe as it seeks to increase the levels of foreign exhibitors’ from the current 120 ahead of next month’s fair.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
The 2017 ZITF Trade Fair will be held from April 25 to 29 in Bulawayo.
ZITF chairperson Ruth Ncube told NewsDay on the sidelines of the foreign missions dinner on Tuesday that the company was hoping to reverse declining numbers of foreign exhibitors.
“I think the decline was being experienced due to a slackening of stakeholder relations from our point of view. We tended to sympathise with the decline instead of looking for opportunities that would uplift and fill that gap. One of the key issues that we have been very strong, particularly, in these latter years has been to look at engaging. In the last four or five years, we have seriously started engaging companies that had taken leave,” she said.
“We have improved on some of the issues and suggestions that they [companies that had left] tabled. For example, these issues or suggestions included comfort of exhibition space, internet service, quality of stands, and special areas for corporates or foreign visitors.”
At the dinner, ZITF encouraged foreign missions to get businesses from their countries to participate at the ZITF Trade Fair.
Ncube said the strategy of engaging critical players such as foreign heads of missions was expected to see foreign exhibitors constituting 30% of the exhibitors from the current 20% by 2019.
The dinner attracted 11 heads of missions or representatives’ from Iran, Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Namibia, Zambia, India, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and Pakistan.
South African ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete said, due to economic challenges in his country, the number of business from his country participating in the ZITF Trade Fair would be 15 compared to last year’s 30.
Since 2013, the number of exhibitors’ has been on a steady decline with foreign exhibitors having noticeable drops.