Africa Moyo — Deputy News Editor
The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company has pledged to deliver a safe Trade Fair this year, despite a surge in new infections, ZITF Company board chairman Mr Busisa Moyo said yesterday.
In a statement, Mr Moyo said following the announcement of revised restrictive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 by Vice President and Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, the ZITF Company "would like to assure all relevant stakeholders of our commitment to hosting ZITF 2021 safely".
"We commend and support Government's quick and decisive actions to reduce the spread of Covid-19 infections and continue to lend our voice in urging the greater public to follow prescribed guidelines to ensure a faster return to 'normalcy'," he said.
"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 which is scheduled for July 20 to 23, 2021.
"In this regard, 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."
Mr Moyo said their multi-disciplinary teams were on the ground implementing the various elements of the guidelines which include but are not limited to recruitment of a dedicated team tasked with monitoring and encouraging compliance with prescribed regulations, installation of sanitisation equipment at strategic locations within the exhibition centre such as gates, modified layouts of venues to limit attendance for concurrent events based on seating capacity and allowing for physical distancing and adopting virtual formats for some of their activities or events or meetings to reduce the numbers of people who will be physically present in venues.
ZITF Company is also working on pre-sales of attendance tickets and pre-registration for concurrent events.
There will be no ticket sales on-site. Mr Moyo further said Covid-19 vaccination was not mandatory, but ZITF participants are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of infection and disease spread.
Meanwhile, Mr Moyo said the market appears keen to resume face-to-face trade to increase awareness of their companies' products and services following the unprecedented disruption by Covid-19 last year.
Space bookings are now at 90 percent to capacity, with 405 direct exhibitors having thus far booked 44 878 square metres out of the 49 547 square metres, which had been made available for sale.
"In terms of foreign participation, 11 countries have confirmed namely Angola, Belarus, Botswana, Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania," said Mr Moyo.
This year's ZITF will be held under the theme, "Showcasing the New Normal for Business and 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 and sustainable business models, economic and trade re-engagement and translating new opportunities in a rapidly unfolding context to ensure business continuity while shock-proofing the economy from further devastating consequences of the pandemic.