The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority through its National Convention Bureau (NCB) has intensified its efforts to unlock more meetings and conferences for the destination by reinforcing its engagement of associations. Associations are crucial in the Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry as they are the main source of meetings and conferences. International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranks countries according to the number of association meetings and conferences held at a destination.
In 2016, Zimbabwe was ranked number 12 in Africa by ICCA, South Africa emerged as number 1, Morocco number 2 and position 3 went to three countries (Rwanda, Egypt and Kenya). “In order to improve our ranking in Africa and in the globe we need to bid and host more association meetings” said the Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Dr. Karikoga Kaseke.
He went on to say this necessitated the need to intensify local association engagements. “Off course we will follow a systematic approach in doing so. We used to engage associations through one on one meetings and we have since felt that we can be more impactful if we host sectorial associations under one roof for a day of interactive exchange with our National Convention Bureau”
The National Convention Bureau recently organised a workshop for the associations in the health sector in a bid to identify health association meetings and conferences that can be staged in Zimbabwe. The Executive Director for the National Convention Bureau, Mrs Tesa Chikaponya said at the workshop they were able to identify over 21 potential conferences that can be hosted in Zimbabwe. She went on to say that they were very positive that more conferences can be unlocked from the health associations. “We will engage those health associations that failed to attend the workshop before moving on to our next sectorial engagement, the agriculture sector”. Associations in the agriculture sector are encouraged to register for the workshop to be held in May by contacting NCB via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to the immense benefits derived from hosting meetings, conferences and exhibitions many developed countries such as Singapore, South Africa and United Kingdom have embraced MICE tourism as a tool to drive economic development of key specific sectors on their economies. Zimbabwe will realise economic growth faster if every Zimbabwean takes it upon themselves to attract events that have economic and social impact.