COVID-19: ZITF engages show goers

by Editorial Team
3 minutes read

With the ZITF, which was set to be held this week, having been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers of the event have been engaging visitors to the fair on Twitter since last week using hashtags: #TheShowIsStillOn and #JustNotThisWeek to remind the market that the show was not cancelled.

“Once the dust settles and we start preparing for #ZITF2020, make sure you are on the lookout for the #ZITF roadshow. As usual, it’s going to be packed with lots of fun and giveaways as we once again get ready to host the country’s premier exhibition,” the ZITF Company tweeted.

The company used the preshow period to let the market in on some of the behind-the-scenes events, to shine a spotlight on some of its concurrent shows and address some of the anxieties of some show goers following the postponement.

“With ZITF2020 postponed, we will be using the ZITF week period to highlight what happens during the show. You can also ask questions and make suggestions on how we can improve the show,” said the company.

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In view of the pandemic and its effect on attendance at events such as the ZITF, marketing communications expert, Fungai Mapondera suggested that in future the company could consider adopting a virtual exhibition strategy.

“Suggestion (for future maybe). As it was slowly looking like the attendance may be threatened due to #COVID19, you should have shifted strategy (value creation & capture) by having a virtual expo. This was the moment for #ZITF as an organisation to embrace digital transformation,” Mapondera responded.

The engagement brought to the fore the fact that ZITF is not just a business event but an exhibition that enables people from other different and unrelated endeavours such as local government enthusiasts to pursue their own goals through activities such as research.

“I have a passion for local authorities. I had prepared a questionnaire that I was going leave with each of them for my research. Ngiyakhala (I’m crying right now because of the postponement) so!” said one Twitter user who only identified him/self as Bukhosi.

The ZITF Company also used the opportunity to respond to concerns from some visitors over issues like the validity of gate passes they currently hold following the postponement of the event.

“You will be advised once new dates are out. You’ll need to re-do the online application (for the passes) so that you get the pass with new dates,” the company highlighted in response to the concern for entry passes.

The engagement enabled the fair organiser to educate visitors on the activities of one of the sector-specific shows that run concurrently with the ZITF, Scholastica which targets schools and students.

It also provided the parastatal with an opportunity to clarify the relationship between the Bulawayo Agricultural Show and the ZITF, a fact that was new to some visitors. When the company tweeted the question: “Did you know that the Bulawayo Agricultural Show runs alongside the ZITF exhibition?” Prince Nyoni indicated that he was not aware and that all along he assumed that the ZITF was the Bulawayo equivalent of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show which is held in Harare in August annually.

A throwback image of the iconic Coca-Cola fountain located in the fairgrounds, which the company posted, elicited various memories among some visitors with some of them posting their own and recounting their experiences during past editions of the show.

During the engagement, the ZITF Company gave a rundown of the events that occur during the week preceding and during the exhibition.





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