Geraldine Zaranyika Herald Reporter
Zimbabwe, which currently has a high-powered 28-member delegation of exhibitors at the ongoing International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin, Germany, has won two prestigious awards from the Pacific Travel Writers’ Association Awards (PATWA).
Zimbabwe won the Sustainable Destination of the Year Award, while Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira scooped the Tourism Minister of Year Award (Africa).
Every year, PATWA awards best performance in the travel and tourism industry.
This comes as no surprise as Zimbabwe has left indelible footmarks on the world travel and tourism landscape through a sustained and intelligent destination marketing strategy that includes taking the country’s brand and tourism tapestries to international source markets.
Minister Mupfumira, who is leading Zimbabwe’s delegation to ITB, said the awards were proof of the good work Team Zimbabwe had done over the years.
“We have said Zimbabwe is open for business to the world and these are the results. This is the rebirth of Zimbabwe to the international world and the world has indeed recognised the good work.
“The Best Minister Award is not for myself, but for Zimbabwe. We are back into the world,’’ she said.
ITB is a prime travel and tourism expo, where the world’s leading businesses, tourist wholesalers, tour operators, investors and stakeholders meet annually to do business.
It will run until March 10 and Zimbabwe has more than 20 exhibitors, up from 15 last year.
Minister Mupfumira said ITB was a good platform for Zimbabwe to market its vast untapped tourist attractions and investment opportunities to the world.
Outbound tourism from Europe has generated almost half of the world’s international arrivals and opportunity still remains for Zimbabwe to aggressively profile its tourism potential in the region, particularly in Germany.
“One of Zimbabwe’s key source markets ranked third in overseas arrivals after the United States of America and United Kingdom, Germany contributed 37,304 arrivals last year,” said the minister .
“This is a clear indication of the significance of this market to Zimbabwe‘s tourism economy, hence the need for intensified investment in destination promotion.’’
Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Paul Matamisa said ITB was an important window of opportunity to the tourism and hospitality industry.
“The International Tourism Bourse opens a window for business connections and networking for industry players which can be translated into tangible business deals within the next two to three years.’’
Mr Matamisa said ITB is a must-attend show for the tourism industry by virtue of its magnitude.
It is by and large the leading travel trade show in the world, so Zimbabwe stands to benefit immensely from networking with seasoned travel professionals to give them an appreciation of Zimbabwe’s tourism offering and include it in their packages.
The IBT remains predominately the leading and a must-attend global meeting platform attracting the participation of 187 countries, 1 000 qualified top buyers, 10 000 exhibitors, 120 000 trade visitors, 26 000 convention visitors and more than 160 000 private visitors alike.