THE Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) has finally released its proposal that this year’s fair be held in September.It did so after cabinet postponed the ZITF, which was due to take place July 20-23 after a surge in Covid-19 cases.
Eleven countries had agreed to take part, namely Angola, Belarus, Botswana, Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.
The ZITF company wrote to the Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr. Sekai Nzenza proposed September 21st – 24th and September 28th – October 1st.
Nevertheless in a statement, ZIMBABWE INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR COMPANY CEO DR NICHOLAS NDEBELE said actual dates are now out as
”the ZITF Company wishes to officially advise you of the decision to postpone the 2021 edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair to 23-27 August 2021. Due to the rising numbers of new Covid 19 infections, both locally and regionally, and the resultant movement and gathering restrictions, the Company is of the view that it was no longer realistic to successfully stage the trade fair during the previously advertised July dates without significant risk to participants given the current high number of active cases in the country.”
”The decision to postpone the trade showcase was reached after extensive consultations with the Government of Zimbabwe and a wide cross-section of stakeholders including the relevant health authorities. It is our collective considered assessment that postponing the ZITF to the end of August allows for the nation to concentrate on efforts to curb the 3rd wave timeously and that a later date provides more ideal conditions to conduct the much-anticipated trade show business in a relatively bio-secure environment.”
”EXHIBITION Preparations for the multi-sectoral trade exhibition have been progressing well with space uptake currently at 90% to capacity. Stand allocation is nearing completion and late bookings continue to be placed on the waiting list. In that regard, we wish to urge exhibitors who have not yet paid for their exhibition stands in full to do so as soon as possible (Deadline: Friday 30 July 2021). ”
”The ZITF Company understands the need to reopen in a controlled and responsible manner given the erratic behaviour of the pandemic. Our standpoint is that conventions, conferences, exhibitions, and trade shows are not generic “mass gatherings” – they are organised industry gatherings which can be safely and successfully managed. ”
”A significant portion of this year’s exhibition fees will therefore be used to operationalise the ZITF 2021 Covid Risk Management Plan, a rigorous health and safety road map that seeks to prevent and mitigate the spread of the pandemic among exhibitors, visitors and stakeholders at the ZITF 2021 exhibition. It is therefore imperative that stakeholders adhere to registration and payments deadlines to achieve this objective. ”
The CEO went on to add in the statement that
”May I take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly for any inconvenience caused by the postponement and to thank all our stakeholders for your forbearance and cooperation as we collectively endeavour to navigate this unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation. We look forward to welcoming you to Bulawayo and to ZITF 2021.”
Prior the ZITF company’s Board Chair, Mr Busisa Moyo, said this will allow exhibitors and potential visitors to postpone their preparations with sufficient time and also allow the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic to subside.
“We were discontinued with the adjustment of the ZITF dates, which were originally July 20-23, but in view of the rise in Covid-19 cases, we now need to verify that the event is appropriate on these dates. Our local as well as overseas exhibitors are seriously concerned about traveling and exhibiting given the current course of the pandemic in Zimbabwe. Indeed, His Excellency the Honourable Ed Mnangagwa, The President has made a special announcement placing the country on Lockdown: Level 4. In view of the above, we therefore recommend the following alternative dates: 21.-24. September 28, 2021 and September 28 to October 1, 2021, ”said Mr. Moyo in the letter.
Mr Moyo said a number of strategies had been put in place to comply with Covid-19 regulations.These include, but are not limited to; Hiring a dedicated team charged with monitoring and promoting compliance with mandatory regulations, installing disinfection equipment in strategic locations within the exhibition center, such as B. gates, entrances and exits to the exhibition halls, registration and information centers.
He said virtual formats are being introduced for some of the main activities / events or meetings to reduce the number of people physically present at the venues. There will also be advance sales of attendance tickets and pre-registration for events taking place at the same time.
This year’s ZITF will take place under the motto “Showcasing the New Normal for Business & Industry: Realities and Opportunities” under strict protocols to contain Covid-19.
The topic recognizes that ZITF 2021 will take place against the backdrop of Covid-19 and therefore calls for the engagement of several stakeholders in the development of innovative sustainable business models as well as the reintegration of the economy and trade.
Through ZITF, the government expects to create new opportunities in a rapidly evolving context to ensure business continuity while protecting the economy from further devastating effects of the pandemic.
ZITF company’s chairman of the board, Mr Busisa Moyo, said exhibitors are eager to resume in-person trade show attendance in order to increase awareness of their companies’ products and services after the unprecedented disruption to the trade fair in 2020.
He said the pace of bookings was 90 percent full, with 405 direct exhibitors booking 44,878 square meters of the 49,547 square meters put up for sale.