It has been 10 years since the rebranding of the Zimbabwe International Travel Expo to the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo. This year’s expo held at the ZITF in Bulawayo and boasted of 340 exhibitors, 224 international buyers and 24 international media according to ZTA’s head of corporate affairs, Sugar Chagonda.
In the words of Eng. W. Mzembi (MP) Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, the objectives of the expo were to create a platform for business to business exchange for tourism operators in Zimbabwe. As the name Sanganai/Hlanganani suggests meeting and networking, exhibitors, visiting buyers, investors and suppliers of services to the tourism sector from all over the world were able to do just that.
There were market workshops and speed networking sessions at which businesses got to make good contacts in the industry as well as sales. Tour operators and exhibitors also solidified these friendships by showcasing the best of what they had to offer through their individual stands. Most of those that spoke to the ZimShoppingMalls team noted that the level of professionalism and creativity at this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani was the best that they have seen since its inception; a good indication that the Sanganai/Hlanganani team is certainly progressing in the right direction.
This was not only the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo’s 10th year running but it was also designated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), as the international year of sustainable tourism. This saw exhibitors aiming to go green by using LED lighting and recycled materials in setting up their stands. It also brought out the importance of advertising online as an environmentally friendly option to print media – less flyers, less tree felling and less litter post the event and in future. Most exhibitors and tour operators that the ZimShoppingMalls team spoke to were excited at the opportunity to join the ZimShoppingMalls e-Commerce Content Marketing Ecosystem either as an addition to their existing marketing initiatives or as a replacement to the traditional independent website that normally proves more costly in the long run.
Overall, it was a successful, well attended expo which generated good business leads for exhibitors and was instrumental in educating players in the tourism industry about protecting the environment today to ensure that it thrives tomorrow. A very essential message that not only those in tourism need to hear, but the whole world. The event effectively marketed Zimbabwe as a world of wonders that it is and gave other African countries in attendance a chance to showcase their attractions to Zimbabwe and the international buyers that were in attendance.
It is our hope that Sanganai/Hlanganai 2018 will be even bigger and see more African countries come to showcase their tourist attractions and use this huge Expo as a platform to sell their vacation and staycation packages. Effective online marketing and in particular content marketing offers a unique method to sell packages to the rest of Africa and certainly the rest of the world that will appreciate some education on the different attractions prior to committing to a vacation destination.
If your institution or organization is into tourism or doing business with tourism industries then we feel that it is imperative that you attend the next Sanganai/Hlanganani Expo in 2018 to ensure that you educate the world about your services and packages including making solid connections with buyers from all over the world – Remember to go green!
Now that Sanganai/Hlanganani is over, most businesses are busy following up on connections made at the Expo and making sure those relationships yield much progress over the next 12 months.
We cannot wait to see what next year’s expo will bring. ZimShoppingMalls has already started planning…
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