Over 96% of the exhibition space was taken up in an indication of a major improvement from the past decade of subdued activity.
Ncube said this year’s trade showcase was a return to the business approach of hosting such events as flea market stand owners who had become part of the regular exhibitors at ZITF were not invited this time.
Daniel Chigaru, the ZITF general manager said they had banned the selling of products during the exhibition to ensure that the event meets international standards.
“It is certainly bigger than last year in terms of the space covered,” Ncube said.
“The space taken this year is around 96 and 97% of the space available.
“It is 3 000 square metres bigger than the space taken up last year.”
Organisers said this year’s event was anchored on sectors such as agriculture, tourism, mining and manufacturing which are expected to drive the country’s economic revival.
This year’s showcase was held under the theme “Optimising Business Synergies, Now and Beyond” and 13 countries participated.
The countries include Turkey, Germany, Botswana, Egypt, Iran, India, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia, among others.
Khumbulani Maphosa, an analyst with Habakkuk Trust, a non-governmental organisation also hailed the trade showcase as a success in terms of business but noted that it shut out ordinary people because of high entrance fees.
The charges were set at US$3 and US$5 for children and adults respectively, a figure Maphosa said was unaffordable in light of the fact that school fees is required this week when schools open.
A survey of the stands by The Standard showed a marked improvement compared to previous years.
One such improvement was the cattle exhibition that a CC Sales auctioneer, Richard Wakefield described as a success in years.
The cattle exhibition – which was almost scrapped because of an outbreak of the Foot and Mouth Disease – had suffered a knock at the turn of the millennium after the eviction of mostly white farmers under the land reforms.
Wakefield said the cattle exhibition recorded 160 entries compared to less than 100 entries of last year.
“This year’s exhibition has been good and it’s the best that we have had in years,” Wakefield said, adding that the breed of cattle on show was mainly Beefmaster and Brahman cross.
President Robert Mugabe also toured the stands on Friday after the official opening and revealed that he loves Indonesian goods.
For the first time a non head of state, Africa Import and Export bank president Jean Louis Ekra officially opened the showcase.