BY RICHARD MUPONDE
THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has intensified efforts to unlock more meetings and conferences for the country by rejoining the International Congress for Convention Association (ICCA) after a two-year sabbatical.
This will open doors for the ZTA as the association is crucial in the Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry having been the main source of meetings and conferences.
ICCA ranks countries according to the number of association meetings and conferences held at a destination.
In 2016, Zimbabwe was ranked number 12 in Africa by ICCA, South Africa emerged number one, Morocco number two and position three was shared by three countries —Rwanda, Egypt and Kenya.
In a statement, ZTA acting director of national convention bureau, Pauline Ndlovu said the reintegration would go a long away in attracting new conferences and conventions to Zimbabwe.
“The presence of Zimbabwe at Institute of Business Travel Management (IBTM) world has also given an opportunity for training in the use of the ICCA database in order to maximise benefits that can be derived from it such as securing conference leads, access to research and marketing tools as well as networking with other members of the association,” Ndlovu said.
She said the ZTA was going to partner ICCA in capacity building and marketing activities.
The ICCA African chapter regional director Esmare Steinhofel also said the reinstatement of Zimbabwe at the recently held IBTM World in Barcelona, Spain, was a step in the right direction.
“ICCA is ready to conduct MICE capacity-building workshops together with the Zimbabwe National Convention Bureau to give industry a boost towards knowledge of the sector,” Steinhofel said.
Chairperson of the Durban International Convention Centre, Lindiwe Rakharebe said the African chapter would be stronger with more members
“We are looking forward to having Zimbabwe take part in the upcoming 2020 ICCA events in South Africa, Innbruck and China,” Rakharebe said.
The association’s meeting industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in tourism and is contributing millions of dollars to the global economy. IBTM remains one of the top MICE events to gain visibility to new destination seekers and decision-makers in the business tourism industry
This year’s IBTM was focusing, among other areas, on technology and sustainability in MICE tourism and how players can maximise upcoming technologies to make their business events stand out.