PLANS are underway to host the 2021 Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair virtually following its cancellation in 2020 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (OATF) was first held in 2000 and it will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year under the theme “Gearing for a Smart Economy”.
Town spokesperson Jackson Muma said the Committee responsible for organizing the trade fair has embarked on a journey to introduce and include a Virtual Trade Fair (V-Trade Fair) as a customized exhibition event.
Muma stated that it intends to speak to current realities dictated by various factors including the persistent COVID-19 and the ever-changing technological environment as well as to reach out to a wider regional and international market.
He explained that a virtual fair is necessary to allow the OATF brand continuity while providing a platform for businesses to showcase their products and services to prospective customers.
Further, Muma noted that OATF, this year, is scheduled to take place from the 26th to 31st August 2021, reduced from the usual 9 days to 6 days due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The V-Trade Fair is expected to accommodate exhibitors and visitors online while a fraction of exhibitors and visitors will be on the trade fair ground,” he added.
A market survey revealed that 85.1% indicated that Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair is relevant to business needs despite COVID-19.
He emphasised that most exhibitors make use of social media and other online/digital platforms, which are instrumental during the trade fair.
“The interest from exhibitors was established through a survey conducted by the Trade Fair Preparatory Committee in February this year,” he stated.
Apart from local exhibitors, Muma said the expected for a considerable number of Regional and International exhibitors to participate in this year’s event via the virtual platform.
Although the council plans a virtual fair, key economic sectors are expected to participate in both virtual and conventional affairs.