Collective efforts effective in marketing local tourism: Chidzidzi

Leonard Ncube in VICTORIA FALLS
PLAYERS in the tourism sector have resolved to come up with a collective marketing strategy for the country’s resorts and promoting the ease of doing business.

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) recently organised an industry stakeholder meeting in the Hwange National Park, where participants identified numerous opportunities that could be harnessed to drive Zimbabwe’s tourism.

Acting ZTA chief executive Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said collective efforts were effective in marketing local tourism.

“We always talk about challenges and in very few instances, people would come up with solutions to those challenges.

“In that regard, we have a grouping, which is called ‘Team Tourism’, which is a cross-sectoral group of people that impact on tourism in different ways,” he said.

Mr Chidzidzi said the idea behind “Team Tourism” was to take people out of their usual environment and let them experience the tourist environment away from their office comfort.

“That is why we are here to discuss issues pertaining to tourism. This was meant to assess industry performance and proffer solutions where necessary,” he said.

Industry players said they were willing to play ball in improving service delivery.

Zimbabwe Business Tourism Council president Ms Winnie Muchanuka said interaction between tour operators and service providers was important as it enhances a consolidated product.

Some of the issues raised include uptake of revolving funds from RBZ to upgrade the product, multiple licences and conflicting Statutory Instruments.

ZTA board member Mr Blessing Munyenyiwa commended Government for allocating $65 million to the sector in the 2020 National Budget. He stressed the need for the private sector to work closely with Government in marketing the destination.

“We saw positives in different things that have happened.

“Tourists move around freely, while Government has extended duty-free rebates and allocated for the first time the highest budget we have ever received for tourism,” he said.

Victoria Falls Town Clerk Mr Ronnie Dube, who attended the meeting, said efforts were being made in conjunction, with police to control haulage trucks, while the municipality was working on a project to install traffic lights in town to control movement of traffic.

Zimbabwe has on several occasions been named among the best tourist destinations by different world agencies and the industry feels this is confirmation of a brighter future.

The country has also been honoured for being a safe destination, embracing green tourism, cultural preservation, integrated marketing and implementation of the Kaza-Uni Visa model, wildlife conservation and improved relations.

The meeting also noted challenges facing the sector such as inefficient clearance rate and ambience at ports of entry, fuel shortage, traffic congestion, infrastructure gaps and fragmented marketing approaches, among others.

The conference was attended by representatives from tour operators, hoteliers, Government officials, agents, security and media.

It was meant to identify and deliberate on the industry’s challenges and success stories, while proffering solutions to challenges facing the sector.

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