Zambia’s premier tourism expo gets underway in Lusaka

The mighty Victoria Falls, aka “Mosi oa Tunya – The Smoke That Thunders,” is just one of the many attractions which are being featured prominently at ZATEX 2016, short for Zambia Tourism Expo. The second edition of the event went underway yesterday in the capital city of Lusaka.

The venue is the sprawling complex of the Mulungushi International Conference Centre where nearly 50 exhibitors from Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, the Seychelles, Mozambique, and Botswana, as well as from far away as Indonesiam are showcasing their companies and attractions.

RETOSA, the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa, which brings together 15 member countries, was also represented at the expo.

Sixty-five hosted buyers had come to Zambia to meet the local tourism industry, as well as regional tourism authorities like Zimbabwe and airlines present like RwandAir – one of the key sponsors of ZATEX 2016 – and including Air Namibia and local carrier ProFlight, to talk business. The “speed dating” set up in the afternoon turned out to be a beehive of activity as buyers and sellers met face to face while working on the clock. This was later followed at an easier pace when the Radisson Blu Lusaka hosted all participants, invited guests from Lusaka’s business community, and the media for a social evening which turned out to be more of a second networking event then a mere cocktail party.

The main host, Zambia Tourism Board’s Managing Director, Mr. Felix Chaila, welcomed guests, who came from as far as Japan, India, Germany, France, and the UK, while African participants traveled to Lusaka from South Africa, neighboring Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania, and including Zanzibar, Uganda, and also Ghana.

Felix Chaila, Managing Director, Zambia Tourism Board

While, in comparison to last week’s Sanganai 2016 – Zimbabwe’s 15th edition of their tourism trade show – ZATEX was more compact. It is a valiant effort to showcase Zambia’s tourism attractions, given that this is only the second edition of the event and that the dates, due to circumstances beyond ZTA’s control had to be shifted. Nevertheless, the exhibition has literally doubled in size compared to the inaugural event in 2015, a sign that Zambia may at last become the “en vogue” destination the local tourism marketers were long hoping for.

Twelve travel trade journalists also attended the show on invitation of Zambia Tourism, aiming to make an impact in their home countries like India, South Africa, Germany, France and also Angola, Zimbabwe and Uganda, where this eTurboNews Africa correspondent is based.

Today’s proceedings will be marked by the official opening of ZATEX 2016. Zambia’s Minister for Tourism and Art, the Hon. Jean Kapata, will tour the exhibition in the morning to meet hosted buyers, exhibitors, and the media. She will then, later in the afternoon, invite the Guest of Honor, who is none other than President Edgar Lunga, to officially open the event.

For added information about Destination Zambia, click here.