Siphathisiwe Mpofu |  11 months ago | top
ELEVEN countries have so far confirmed their participation at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) as more local and international exhibitors seek to ride on the showcase to expand businesses and trade.
Bulawayo will host the prime multi-sectoral trade exhibition under tight Covid-19 mitigation protocols next month (20 to 23 July) under the theme: “Showcasing the New Normal for Business & Industry: Realities and Opportunities.”
The theme acknowledges that ZITF 2021 is taking place against the backdrop of Covid-19 and, as such, calls for multi-stakeholder engagement in forging innovative sustainable business models, economic and trade re-engagement.
Through ZITF, Government expects these to translate into new opportunities in a rapidly unfolding context to ensure business continuity while shock-proofing the economy from further devastating consequences of the pandemic.
Despite the short preparatory time and uncertainty that followed the suspension of the exhibition last year due to Covid-19, organisers say market enthusiasm for the event has seen a jump in booking space.
“The response from the market has affirmed that exhibitors are eager to resume face-to-face trade show participation to increase awareness of their companies’ products and services following the unprecedented disruption of 2020,” ZITF Company board chairman, Mr Busisa Moyo, said yesterday.
“In terms of foreign participation, 11 countries have confirmed namely Angola, Belarus, Botswana, Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.
“Space bookings is now at 90 percent to capacity with 405 direct exhibitors having, thus far, booked 44 878sqm out of the 49 547sqm, which had been made available for sale.”
Mr Moyo said this year’s event presents an ideal platform for stakeholders to converge, rebuild businesses, leverage new regional and global developments. Navigating the contours of the new normal under Covid-19 has become largely buttressed by technology, he added.
Enhanced public health safety measures are, thus, being put in place in view of the recent revised restrictive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 announced over the weekend by the Vice-President who is also Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, said Mr Moyo. He commended the Government’s quick and decisive action to reduce the spread of Covid-19 infections and urged businesses and citizens to follow prescribed guidelines to ensure a faster return to normalcy.
“As indicated by the authorities, the situation will be periodically reviewed and we are hopeful that this will be within a reasonable time frame for exhibitors to finalise preparations for the show,” said Mr Moyo.
“We will keep our stakeholders apprised in liaison with Ministry of Health and Child Care. We remain in constant communication with national and local health authorities who have been instrumental in assisting us to craft the ZITF 2021 Covid-19 Risk Management Plan, which seeks to ensure that all reasonable steps to promote and maintain safe and healthy conditions are in place.”
The ZITF board chair said multi-disciplinary teams have been set and were already on the ground implementing various elements of the set guidelines.
These include but are not limited to; recruitment of a dedicated team tasked with monitoring and encouraging compliance with prescribed regulations, installation of sanitization equipment at strategic locations within the exhibition centre, such as gates, exhibition hall points of entry and exit, registration and information centres.
The teams are also modifying layouts of venues to limit attendance for concurrent events based on seating capacity and allowing for physical distancing.
Mr Moyo said virtual formats will be adopted some of the key activities/events or meetings to reduce the numbers of people physically present in venues. There will also be pre-sales of attendance tickets and pre-registration for concurrent events, said the board chair with emphasis: “No tickets will be sold on-site”.
To buttress public awareness, ZITF has said increased communication will be facilitated with attendees about health and safety expectations during the exhibition.
“While at this stage Covid-19 vaccination is not mandatory, ZITF participants are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of infection and disease spread,” said Mr Moyo.- The Chronicle