Packed events calendar bane, boon for stakeholders

by Editorial Team
4 minutes read

The relaxation of the Stage 4 lockdown at the end of August and the safe hosting of the 2021 edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair last month have encouraged many organisers to go ahead with their plans for this year’s events. Some did not hold their events last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and have to squeeze them in the remaining weeks of the year.

This has seen many organisers slotting their events mainly in October and November, creating a crammed-up business events calendar for the remainder of the year. The fact that most professional and business associations like the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) respectively traditionally hold their annual conferences and award ceremonies during the last quarter of the year has also contributed to the situation.

October is heavily laden with business events as various businesses and organisers are seeking to dispense with their events ahead of the festive season. The Zimbabwe Agricultural Show straddled September and October while Zimtrade its Buyers’ Seminar, Exporters Conference and Exporter of the Year Awards ran from 6 to 8 October. The Garden Club held its Annual Garden Show on 9 and 10 October after cancelling last year’s edition due to the pandemic. The ZNCC held its Annual Congress from 13 to 15 October in Victoria Falls. And more events are pencilled for the remainder of the month and the next.

The CEO Africa Round Table Annual Conference and Awards are set to be held from 27 to 29 October in Victoria Falls while MAZ’s Annual Marketers’ Convention is slotted for 27 to 30 October in Kariba. The Zim-Afro Medical and Health Expo is set for 28 and 29 October in Harare.

November is also packed with events as the SME international Expo, which is traditionally held in October, is set to run from 17 to 19 November. The event was pushed to November as its traditional slot coincided with the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show. Other events that are set for November include the Gweru-based Midlands Weddings and Events Expo which is set for the 20th of next month. The Intra-Africa Trade Fair, where 34 local companies are set to participate, is expected to run from 15 to 21 November 2021 in Durban, South Africa. Beyond that, the Dubai Expo 2020, which started at the beginning of this month in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, is running until the end of March next year.

The crammed-up nature of the remaining calendar of business events has not been without effect on delegates and other stakeholders. Some delegates and visitors have complained of event fatigue. Doves Marketing General Manager, Joel Gombera complained of too many business events in the remainder of the year.

“A lot of events that were on hold are now being squeezed between now and the end of the year. It’s choker blocker. I can’t keep up. Can there be some form of co-ordination and collaboration if possible?” Gombera tweeted.

Some agreed that there were too many business events for the remaining few weeks of the year. Others bemoaned the fact that while they valued the events, they could not attend them all as some of them occurred simultaneously or within days of each other, creating travel and logistical nightmares.

While other people agreed with Gombera, others especially suppliers and other stakeholders like masters of ceremonies celebrated the business that comes with the events.

“Pressure is on for sure and some organisations feel (that) if they don’t have their functions now they may be affected by another lockdown in December. We just have got to take this chance as businesses, never mind the fatigue,” said Bulawayo-based Cillas Conference Centre director, Priscilla Mabhena. She admitted that the event frenzy was creating business for event venues like hers.

Most of the remaining events are set to be held in Zimbabwe’s business events capital – the Victoria Falls city. This is set to create business for the hotels in the resort city, which have not realised as much business as they would ordinarily do due to the Covid-19 pandemic since March last year.

The overloaded events calendar is, therefore, a blessing to the organisers and other stakeholders as well as a bane to others such as attendees.

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