Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief appeals for release of funds

Zimbabwe’s much-awaited annual international tourism fair, Sanganai Hlanganani, appears to have encountered last-minute challenges, as the CEO of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), Mr. Karikoga Kaseke, appealed publicly to his government to release the necessary funding for the event.

Last year in his official opening address, the country’s Vice President directed ZTA to hold this year’s fair in Bulawayo at the larger showground, after reportedly some 10 companies were unable to secure exhibition space at the Rainbow Hotel and Convention Centre.

In the same address, funding was promised to ZTA to attend, among others, international trade shows to promote the country’s tourism sector and also for events like the Harare International Carnival and of course Sanganai.

The latest information received from ZTA suggested that they had targeted some 185 buyers and over 180 exhibitors to come to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, to inject much-needed momentum in the marketing of the country.

Air Zimbabwe had earlier in the year announced that they were planning to return to London and by the beginning of June will also resume flights to Dar es Salaam. Marketing efforts by ZTA are, therefore, needed to drive up demand for Zimbabwe visits to the ancient sites of Great Zimbabwe, the various national parks, and of course Victoria Falls.

When Mr. Kaseke addressed the media in Zimbabwe over the cash call, it was also revealed that the country still has to pay up for its participation in the recently-concluded INDABA fair in Durban, Southern Africa’s largest tourism trade show.

It is understood that Mr. Kaseke held meetings in Harare with the Finance Ministry to resolve the present cash crunch and that Minister Patrick Chinamasa had reassured him and ZTA that the necessary funds would be released.