Africast recently held the 5th ZITE (Zambia International Travel Expo) in Lusaka at the New Government Complex Conference Centre. The show is proudly touted as the “the only tourism marketing event that brings together the best of local and regional tourism products and services, whilst attracting international visitors and buyers.” Unfortunately, reports from various exhibitors do not tally with this.
With only about 30 stands and very limited representation from the various tourism sectors in Zambia (due to poor shows in the past), plus the fact that no international buyers were brought in as promised, the show was not deemed a success. There were many frustrating factors for exhibitors – a severe lack of advertising meant that very few visitors came to the show; stand set ups were delayed due to them not being put up on time (the hall hadn’t been paid for, so entrance had been refused); and although the conference center was very impressive, the layout and location was not conducive for such a show. Why it was ever changed from the more appropriate Mulungushi is a mystery.
Overall, the lack of organization, enthusiasm, and knowledge on how to run such a tourism show led to huge disappointment for those that had paid good money to exhibit. It’s such a shame that the show was so unsuccessful, as it is something that Zambia needs, especially with the amount of focus that there is on domestic tourism at the moment – it should be the ideal platform to encourage the local market.
The Hon. Given Lubinda was in attendance, and along with an impressive speech, he also spent time going around to every stand. He stated that he was now the Ambassador of the show, so let’s hope that if there is even a show next year, there are some huge improvements.
Gill Staden, eTN Correpondent in Zambia had this to say: “In the past, agricultural shows came into being, because the farmers needed to meet, learn from each other, and buy seeds and animals to improve their products. There was a need for the shows. Travel shows came into being in Zambia because the government said, ‘We will have a travel show.’ The fact that they have all been unsuccessful should make us wonder if there is a need for them.
“In today’s world where all tour operators are in constant touch with each other on the Internet, they learn from each other without meeting. Potential visitors also gain most information from the Internet, too.
“Personally, I think that there is a place for a travel show but not in Lusaka. It should be in Livingstone. It is about time that Livingstone was given its rightful place as the tourist capital of Zambia.”