The hosting of the forum is part of the ZTA plans to build on the country's successful co-hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly in Victoria Falls last month. The day-long programme, to be held in Harare on October 10, is aimed at exploring various opportunities and benefits presented by MICE tourism, particularly in Zimbabwe as well as Africa in general. This has become a major marketing tool and a key driver of destination development, an important generator of income, employment and foreign investment in many countries. Speaking on the hosting of the MICE Business Forum, ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke expressed confidence on Zimbabwe's potential in driving MICE tourism business, which will in turn bring immense benefits to the country. "I have no doubt that developing MICE tourism would bring benefits, not only to the tourism sector, but also to general trade and the promotion of the image of Zimbabwe:' he said. He reiterated that Zimbabwe has almost all the necessary elements to strongly develop MICE tourism, ranging from social and political stability, meetings infrastructure, convention centres, resorts that meet international standards as well as an attractive culture and enthusiastic as well as hospitable customer care services. The forum is expected to work towards putting together a well-rounded chapter that would advance the development, positioning and promotion of Zimbabwe as a MICE destination. Mr Kaseke said the country had the potential to become a preferred destination for MICE tourism business in Africa and beyond on the basis of the successful co-hosting of the UNWTO General Assembly last month. The authority also said the forum would engender a healthy and open discussion on ways of enhancing Zimbabwe's capacity and capability in driving this type of tourism business
The platform will bring together a panel of global and local experts, tourism players and other relevant stakeholders to share knowledge and experiences on the issues of MICE tourism business. Speakers earmarked for the forum include the chief executive of Gaining Edge, Mr Gary Grimmer, who has worked with some of the leading MICE destinations such as Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Berlin, Cape Town and Singapore. Also, on the panel is Mr Dary Keywood, the former president of the Society of Incentive and Travel Executives, an international body of MICE experts. Zimbabwe's own leaders in the MICE sector expected on the panel include Mr Glen Byrom, who is the chief explorer at Twiice; Mr Daniel Chigaru, the vice chairperson of Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company; and the ZCT president Mr Glen Stutchbury among others. Beyond economic benefits, the MICE tourism industry presents opportunities for knowledge sharing, networking, capacity building and regional co-operation. The development of MICE tourism requires collaboration from the whole nation as MICE activities cut across all sectors of the economy and as such can be created by all.