The mighty Victoria Falls, aka ‘Mosi oa Tunya | The Smoke That Thunders’ is just one of the many attractions which feature prominently at ZATEX 2016, short for Zambia Tourism Expo. The second edition of the event went underway yesterday in the capital city of Lusaka. Venue is the sprawling complex of the Mulungushi International Conference Centre where nearly 50 exhibitors from Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, the Seychelles, Mozambique, Botswana but notably also from as far as Indonesia 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.
65 hosted buyers had come to Zambia to meet the local tourism industry, as well as regional tourism authorities like Zimbabwe, airlines present like RwandAir – one of the key sponsors of ZATEX 2016 – Air Namibia or local carrier ProFlight, to talk business and the ‘speed dating’ set up in the afternoon turned out to be a beehive of activities as buyers and sellers met face to face though 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.
Main host, Zambia Tourism Agency’s CEO Mr. Felix Chaila, welcomed his guests, who came from as far as Japan, India, Germany, France and the UK while African participants traveled to Lusaka from South Africa, neighbouring Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania including Zanzibar, Uganda but also Ghana.
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 has the exhibition 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 too attended the show on invitation of Zambia Tourism, aiming to make an impact in their home countries like India, South Africa, Germany, France but also Angola, Zimbabwe and Uganda, where global market leader’s 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 Honour who is none other than President Edgar Lunga to officially open the event.