Zimbabwe tourism on the road to great things

The new Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry – Honourable Prisca Mupfumira on Friday 12 January 2018 met with over 250 Tourism and Hospitality stakeholders to outline her vision for the sector in her first 100 days in office.

Noteworthy in her maiden address, was the minister’s insistent call for all tourism stakeholders to participate in the formulation of a Zimbabwe Tourism Strategy which is a key to shaping the future of tourism in Zimbabwe. Workshops have been organized starting 1 February 2018 – 7 February 2018 in centres such as Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls among others.

Another major focus of the Ministers 100 Day Plan is Domestic Tourism. She highlighted the need of making Zimbabwe tourism accessible to locals through intensified awareness of what Zimbabwe has to offer. Under this program, publicity associations will be rebranded to Tourism Information Centres. These will be awarded grants through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to fund regional marketing plans.

“My Ministry will work closely with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works & National Housing in conducting training to ensure that the Information Centres are well capacitated to promote tourism development,” said Minister Mupfumira.

The issue of pricing was also sighted as an impediment to the growth of domestic tourism. The minister emphasized how domestic tourism is a key influencer to the growth of tourism in any destination. She said that it is only fair for local people to enjoy the beauty of their heritage, and even though we want international tourists visit Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe was till for Zimbabweans.

A National Tourism Facilitation Committee whose main aim will be to deal with impediments to travel within Zimbabwe is set to be established in an effort to help improve the image of Destination Zimbabwe.

Also in attendance at this crucial meeting was the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor – Dr Mangundya who was there to unveil a USD15million Tourism Support Facility, which he said was available for the restoration of the tourism industry which has suffered almost 20 years of retrogression due to the negative perception brought about by a series of political and social disturbances over the years.

Speaking at this Launch Dr. Mangundya emphasized how tourism is a key earner of the much needed foreign currency in Zimbabwe. Currently tourism contributes 11% to the country’s GDP and according to Dr. Mangundya, tourism can easily fork in 20% in the medium term.

Tourism in Zimbabwe accounts for about 5% of export receipts which translates to about USD151 Million per annum.  Based on the renewed interest in Zimbabwe following the resignation of Robert Mugabe after 37 years in power, tourism is set to grow substantively in the short to medium term. It is therefore imperative to create a product that will ensure that Zimbabwe competes with every other destination the world over in terms of standards, pricing and experience.

“I have come to challenge you as a sector to increase export receipts. We (The Reserve Bank) has seen good dividends in sectors where we have empowered businesses such as in agriculture, and with small scale miners so we expert you (Tourism Players) to come take advantage of this facility to improve your businesses, and thus lure more tourist to our beautiful country,” said Dr. Mangundya.

The meeting which was organized by the Zimbabwe Council of Tourism saw a convergence of several captains of the trade exuding optimism of growth in tourism in Zimbabwe as they were keen to interface with the new minister and express their expectations on how to restore Zimbabwe to being the jewel of Africa in the shortest time possible.

#VisitZimbabwe By Sam Nyaude

 

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