Maputo — A five star hotel is to be built on the premises in central Maputo where the Maputo International Trade Fair (FACIM) currently operates.
America Magaia, the chairperson of the board of directors of the Fairs and Exhibitions Management Company (SOGEX), which runs FACIM, told a press conference on Tuesday that negotiations to sell off the FACIM premises are at their final stage. But he did not reveal the sums of money involved.
Magaia added that the infrastructures to be built there must obey criteria established by a multi-sector panel, and are to serve visitors who will come to the football World Cup, due to be played in neighbouring South Africa in 2010.
"The state encourages these premises to be used to create buildings that dignify Maputo city. Thus, a five star hotel will be built to accommodate tourists who will come to the World Cup in 2010', he said. This means that whoever buys the premises will have less than a year to build the hotel.
He explained that the government has decided to remove FACIM from the current premises because they are "completely unfit", and out of line with the international standards for trade fairs.
'If we look at the buildings around these premises, we can see that FACIM is out of place", said Magaia. "Furthermore, the traffic in Maputo city makes it difficult to move around with the vehicles bringing goods for exhibition". As from next year, FACIM will be held in the district of Marracuene, about 30 kilometres north of the capital. Work to build the Marracuene premises are due to start in January.
Drawing up a balance sheet of this year's edition of FACIM, which ended on Sunday, Magaia described it as positive. There were 832 exhibitors present, representing 13 countries, 140 foreign companies and 670 national ones.
'We are happy with the event, because we managed to surpass the figures of 2008", he said. "We had 200 more exhibitors than last year, and even had some difficulty in accommodating more. Malawi, that we were counting on, did not come, and did not give any explanation, but than we had last minute participants, including Pakistan and Mauritius".
There were 53,294 visitors to this year's FACIM, lower than the target figure of 55,000. Magaia blamed this on a major power cut on Thursday which forced the organizers to close the exhibition for that evening.