Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said he was optimistic that most of the investors and buyers invited would invest more than US$1 million in the country as the future of tourism was bright.
“We are looking at deals of between US$1,5 and US$2 billion to be clinched after the fair. We are expecting about 500 exhibitors this year. Other uninvited guests we understand are in the country visiting major tourist attractions,” Kaseke said. “We have 29 investors and exhibitors from the United Kingdom and we are happy about that. We have another group from Brazil, coming for the first time, and we expect arrivals from West Africa as the day progresses. Overally, we have managed to get what we expected in terms of participation.”
Kaseke said tourism should be used as a vehicle to bridge political gaps.
The ZTA chief executive said out of the 500 exhibitors at the fair, a quarter are from Namibia, Tanzania, Brazil, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa and were keen to lure Zimbabweans to consider visiting their countries.
“I am optimistic that some of the investors and buyers we invited will, in the long run, invest their money in this country,” he said.
More than 100 invited and about 60 uninvited international buyers and investors from England, Japan, China, Indonesia, Singapore and Iran are already in the country visiting places of interest as well as seeking investment opportunities.The fair has also attracted international media houses such as BBC Travel, Beijing TV of China, the Sowetan of South Africa, SABC and others.
“We have 100% participation by Sadc countries. It is encouraging and we are happy about the positive developments,” Kaseke said.
World tourism, among the fastest growing industries globally, is expected to register positive growth in 2009, notwithstanding the global financial crisis.