BY NIZBERT MOYO
ALL major hotels and lodges in Bulawayo are now fully booked ahead of this years’ edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) scheduled to run from April 26 to 31, industry players said.
The annual trade showcase, which was removed from the 2020 calendar over COVID-19 fears, will be held under the theme: Rethink, Reimagine, Reinvent Value Chains for Economic Development.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will officially open the 62nd edition of the ZITF. ZITF board chairperson Busisa Moyo said Kenyatta’s visit would strengthen trade relations between the two countries.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) — Matabeleland region chairperson Mackenzie Dongo told Southern Eye that a survey by the industry body revealed that hotels and lodges were fully booked.
“When we talk of room occupancy we talk of Rainbow, Holiday Inn and Cresta hotels among others but as we speak, indications are that they are now fully booked after the ZITF dates have been set,” Dongo said.
“We have people coming from Harare and other cities everyday who are forced to travel back because they cannot find any accommodation in Bulawayo. That is an opportunity we have in the hospitality industry. We need to invest in that area.”
The ZITF Company once announced plans to construct a 300-bed hotel and convention centre at its Bulawayo grounds, but a decade later, there has been no movement.
According to the ZITF Company, at least 87% of the exhibition space has already been taken with international exhibitors from Japan, Angola, Malawi, Namibia and South Africa having confirmed participation.
ZITF officials have visited embassies of Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland and Tanzania to rally support for the trade
Chinese companies have in the past dominated the ZITF, occupying large exhibition spaces.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa officially opened the ZITF in 2021.
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