Otavi Expo exhibitors express mixed feelings

29 Apr 2017 13:50pm
OTAVI, 29 APR (NAMPA) - Exhibitors at the Otavi Investment Expo and Festival on Friday expressed mixed feelings about the activities at this year’s event, which is the fifth annual opportunity for them to showcase their products.
Several exhibitors told Nampa shortly after the official opening by Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Immanuel Ngatjizeko the same day that they though the event was a flop.
This year’s edition started at a slow pace at the Otavi Sports Field on Wednesday and will end on Saturday evening.
Liza Heyman of the Melanie Trading CC said she had a high expectation of the visitors’ turnout but that the past three days were exactly the opposite.
“I expected to come and sell and also exchange contacts with potential customers at this expo, but the turnout of customers so far is lower than I expected and as a result, we have sold only a few of our products,” she said.
Heyman’s products include children’s toys, artificial women’s hair, bead products and ornaments.
Otjozondjupa Regional Council Public Relations Officer, Cornelia Shikongo said a few people had visited her stall since Wednesday, which meant her objective to inform and disseminate information to the public on the duties of the Council had not succeeded.
She suggested that the Otavi Town Council (OTC) in 2018 execute better planning and spend more time enticing the public to attend the event.
“I don’t think the local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were empowered with this low turnout of people at this event,” she said.
Viyeso Domingo of the Jireh Beads and General Dealers said she had been exhibiting at the Otavi Investment Expo and Festival since 2013.
“I still find the expo interesting and growing from strength to strength,” she said, adding since the start of this year’s expo on Wednesday, she sold quite a few products such as clothing.
“We sold, we have really sold this year and I will still be here in 2018,” she said.
Owner of Beauty Denelyn Deco based in Rundu, Denelyn Kazeundja said his company was doing good business since the start of this year’s expo.
“Customers are coming and each one of them is buying something from us,” she said.
Kazeundja praised the OTC for keeping exhibitors and their businesses safe with security guards deployed all over the expo.
She promised to return to the Otavi Expo next year.
Patron of the expo and Executive Chairman of Hangala Group, Dr Leake Hangala registered sentiments of the low turnout of exhibitors and customers to this year’s expo.
“I don't think the OTC involved the relevant stakeholders in its planning of this event,” he said.
Hangala advised the OTC to bring together the private and public sectors and government agencies in their planning of the event next year.
He said it should not fail because the town is strategically located with the proper road network and railway line infrastructure, fertile soil, successful farmers and sufficient underground water that pose great potential.
Otavi Chief Executive Officer, Moses Matyayi said the expo’s organising committee will definitely review the event after its end.
“We will conduct an introspection and see how we can better improve the expo of 2018,” he said.
In 2015, the Otavi expo attracted a total of 115 exhibitors but the figures started decreasing in 2016 to100 and 74 this year.