Leonard Ncube and Nomvelo Siziba
A group of 20 tourism buyers from across the globe visited Victoria Falls on Monday, where they inspected different facilities and pledged to market the country to the world.
The buyers were from South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Italy, France and Slovakia.
They were led by Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) officials.
The crew made a stop-over in Victoria Falls from Bulawayo, where they attended this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo, which ended on Saturday.
In Victoria Falls, they went on a familiarisation dinner cruise on Sunday before touring the rainforest on Monday morning.
They also inspected some hotels and sampled various activities around the town.
After the tour, some of the buyers said Victoria Falls has potential to overtake other world destinations and become the destination of choice. Director of Globe Trotters, an Italian tourism promotion and marketing agency Mrs Michelina Gabrie Sanquest hailed Zimbabweans for being friendly.
“I have been to Matopos and Masvingo before, and what I can say is that Zimbabwe is unique,” she said.
“I can say I am already an ambassador for Zimbabwe tourism because every year I bring some Italians.”
Mrs Sanquest said she started leading tourists to Zimbabwe as an agent 20 years ago and has grown to believe in the destination.
She implored local tourism players to continue marketing Zimbabwe, as some potential tourists from some parts of the world, especially her country, lacked such information.
“I have been in many places around Africa and I have found that Zimbabwe is a unique country, but some people like Italians don’t know much about Zimbabwe, hence we have to keep explaining, which local players should always do,” she said.
Ms Yolisha Asman of Highline Tours from South Africa said Zimbabwe’s tourism attraction was amazing and unique in many ways.
“The culture is amazing here and we are looking forward to visit again and send more teams,” she said.
“There is a great potential in this country. This destination is amazing and it seems it is well-marketed. People are friendly and tourism here is hyped. Every city has its potential and I think from what we have seen, Victoria Falls has its potential to become second to none in the world.”
Her counterpart from South Africa’s Open Tour Ms Nomsa Mdluli, urged local players to engage in serious marketing of leisure centres in Victoria Falls. Mr Ivan Kokooza, the managing director of Fravan Safaris of Uganda, commended Zimbabweans for keeping attractions in their natural state. He was referring to Matopos and Hwange National Parks.
“I am sure we will have many Ugandans coming to Victoria Falls to taste these leisure areas,” said Mr Kokooza. “I also hope we would have exchange visits with Zimbabweans coming to Uganda as we promote the two countries’ tourism.”