ONE truism that always comes forth whenever foreigners arrive in Zimbabwe is that some of us, in concert with outsiders, have sold our country short through bad media.
Those with an agenda against us were only too happy to oblige through travel advisories and hysterical travel warnings.
This is why today, Zimbabwe — for all its natural endowments — is outstripped in tourist arrivals by for instance Botswana which does not come anywhere near as far as tourist attractions are concerned.
This is why, as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is on record saying Zimbabwe is ranked the 33rd country in the world’s most attractive tourist destinations, but is ranked number 117 in terms of actual tourist visits, leaving a huge disparity between its face value and usage.
In other words, the travel advisories and our own myopia in trying to cut our noses to spite our faces, has seen us fail to reap as much as we should from our God-given endowments.
Unfortunately, the bad media has not only impacted on tourism, it has also impacted on business through the artificial investment risk tag the country was foisted with as part of the West’s illegal economic sanctions regime.
This is why, for instance, the country is facing a forex crunch. These are the effects of the sanctions that we were told ad nauseam, were targeted at senior Government officials.
The trickle-down effects on the constituencies are not hard to fathom.
The bottom line is, image is everything. It is all too easy to destroy than to build and the onus is on us all to work towards removing the grime we splattered on our national flag.
We have got off to a good start with the new dispensation that has declared Zimbabwe open for business and we should all work to ensure that our country regains its status as one of the world’s preferred destinations.
We urge those countries that had travel advisories on Zimbabwe to cancel them.
We hope the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry will continue working tirelessly to market Zimbabwe as a preferred tourist destination.
We hope the spirit of all-stakeholder engagement in the tourism sector spreads to all other sectors be it industry, finance, you name it, so that our country can regain its glory as one of Africa’s strongest economies.