By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko
As a way of continuing to put the kingdom on the international tourism radar, the Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) recently joined 400 exhibitors from 26 countries at the 44th International Tourism Fair in Belgrade, Serbia.
The annual show took place at the Belgrade Fair giving exhibitors a lucrative platform to engage product owners and the public at large. The Fair attracted impressive numbers, with 32 115 visitors recorded. According to the ETA, what stood out about this show was the showcasing of dining, wine tourism, accommodation, destinations, and different types of services within the tourism space.
“Much like Eswatini, the Serbs are a nation with a rich history and they displayed this in a striking way at the fair. The show did not adopt a one-dimensional focus on destinations. Instead, it touched on wine tourism, as well as industrial equipment that can be used domestically and in a business setting,” said ETA Marketing Manager Siboniso Madlopha.
He said Eswatini, along with all the African countries that exhibited at the show, was sponsored by Serbia’s Ministry of Tourism. He highlighted that the ETA, led by the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Moses Vilakati, was invited to and hosted at the show by the country’s Ministry of Tourism.
“Europe has, over the years, proven to be one of Eswatini’s increasing source markets. So, the International Tourism Fair in Belgrade presented a much welcome opportunity to learn more about the Serbian market, network with the country’s citizens and service providers, and showcase the Kingdom of Eswatini as a preferred destination in Africa,” he said.
He said throughout the 3-day show, Eswatini showcased culture, activities and adventure, events, and safaris as the country’s unique tourism offerings. Madlopha highlighted that this selection was informed by ETA’s research findings that have revealed the international market’s mass appeal to these experiences.
He said visitors to the Eswatini stand comprised students, groups of friends, couples, and families, who were also fascinated by the country’s name change from Swaziland to Eswatini.
“Overall, the interest in Destination Eswatini by the Serbian market was evident and encouraging making this show a success for the Eswatini tourism industry. He implored local tourism establishments to take advantage of these opportunities by reaching out to the ETA for more information. He explained that visiting a trade show is an investment,” he said.
The Marketing Manager said such shows are a terrific opportunity to raise destination awareness for Brand Eswatini among industry professionals and the key decision-makers that matter.
“Raising brand awareness at a trade show is an equally important opportunity. These shows also present a great platform for forging alliances with other industry-related companies and potential visitors to the kingdom,” he said.