THE hospitality industry in Bulawayo is excited about the return of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), which begins tomorrow, amid positive local business prospects.
Major city hotels are already fully booked for the premier trade showcase while businesses and individuals who provide different services are also positioning themselves for the spoils.
In 2020, the trade fair was postponed before being suspended due to the Covid-19. This year the show was again postponed twice as the deadly disease reared its ugly head.
As the host city, Bulawayo benefits immensely from the ZITF expo with hotels and lodges benefiting from providing accommodation and other services to local and international guests.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) president, Mr Clive Chinwada said despite tight Covid-19 regulations, major hotels in Bulawayo were fully booked for the ZITF.
“Although the ZITF Company has announced that there will be a limited number of visitors at this year’s trade fair, major hotels in Bulawayo are fully booked during the trade fair,” he said.
“However, there are a few small players in the hospitality sector that have not registered 100 percent occupancy.”
In the past, due to accommodation challenges in the city during the trade fair, visitors and exhibitors have sought accommodation from private homeowners with properties close to the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre.
Last week, ZITF Company board chairman Mr Busisa Moyo told journalists during a Press conference that a limited number of delegates will be allowed at this year’s trade fair due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Children under the age of 18 will not be allowed at this year’s fair which is being held under strict Covid-19 health protocols.
Robust health and safety protocols have been established under the advice of public health authorities.
A Covid-19 police team has also been set up to encourage and enforce compliance with all health and safety protocols.
President Mnangagwa will on Thursday officially open the trade fair which runs under the theme, “Showcasing the New Normal for Business and Industry: Realities and Opportunities”.
The theme locates ZITF as a relevant platform for sharing trade, investment and market information by enabling buyers and sellers, investors and countries to meet, discuss and conclude business deals.
Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania have confirmed participation at this year’s premier trade showcase.
This year’s edition has 357 direct exhibitors and about 11 percent are first time exhibitors.
In 2019, the ZITF had 486 direct exhibitors and 17 countries participated.