Foreign exhibitor participation at this year’s edition of the Sanganai /Hlanganani Tourism Exhibition is now above 50 percent of the targeted 30 exhibitors figure, however authorities remain concerned over the low interest by local players.

The tourism fair, judged to be the second largest in the region after the Durban Tourism Indaba in South Africa, has been important in positioning the country on both regional and international markets.

To date 17 out of the targeted 30 exhibitors have expressed their interest to participate at the event which will be hosted in Bulawayo from the 27th of September to 1st of October.

Despite this interest being slightly above the 50 percent mark such response is less than impressive according to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) executive director National Convention Bureau, Mrs Tesa Chikaponya.

Statistics by the ZTA as at the 16th of this month show that steady progress is also being recorded on regional and international buyers with the highest figure  of confirmed buyers coming from South Africa.

Low buyer response has also been recorded from international markets such as France with only one confirmed buyer from the targeted 5, Germany with 2 confirmed buyers out of the targeted 10, while other European countries also have less than 5 confirmed buyers.

Slow progress is also coming from local exhibitors with 125 companies having confirmed their participation out of the targeted 250 companies.

Industry leaders have highlighted the importance of this platform for players to showcase their products and augment government efforts to promote the country’s brand on the international markets.