By Joyce Mukucha
In trying to make Zimbabwe a cost-effective country in the tourism sector and making the industry fulfil the mandate of manpower development, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which also sought to improve economic environment of the two parties at large.
The MOU was intended to introduce a reciprocally advantageous organisational corporation in the areas of research expansion, quality assurance, education training and transfer of skills and propagation of knowledge.
ZTA has pursued various initiatives including cooperation with various institutions of tertiary education that offer tourism training. The collaboration with ZOU is beneficial as it extends type of learning model that will permit tourism personnel to continue studying while they work from any part of the country.
In his remarks during the signing ceremony which took place on the 13th of March 2018 in Harare, Professor Alfred Ncube, the Acting Vice Chancellor of ZOU said the agreement grasps a limitless promise in terms of the prevailing business chances between the two institutions.
“We can achieve this by expanding student and academic exchanges, increasing joint research in areas of common interest and sharing best practices in innovation and higher education in the area of tourism. This MOU is part of vision to invest in human capital development through short courses, work-related learning and apprenticeships, thus making Zimbabwe the most competitive country in tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Ncube said.
He pointed out that ZOU was better placed to develop and train tourism manpower with skills attuned to the demands of the 21st century. The partnership, he said, was the beginning of the teamwork that is set to achieve more for both ZOU and ZTA.
Ncube encouraged the partner to work in ensuring that the agreement does not become fruitless in the future. He said the strategic partnership should culminate in the establishment of centres of excellence.
“I therefore urge ourselves to move with speed so as to conclude a memorandum of agreement soon and then identify specific projects and programmes for mutual benefit in the years to come since today we have found each other albeit in a totally different but much more improved profitable situation,” he said.
Dr. Karikoga Kaseke, the Chief Executive Officer of ZTA indicated they have identified ZOU as a significant training partner to accomplish its mandate of manpower development and maintenance of principles.
“As you are aware that tourism is a labour intensive industry that requires a wide variety of skills and competences, it is tasked to promote Zimbabwe as tourist destination and promote the industry in overseas regional and domestic markets. The industry has got also a mandate to carry out planning which include conducting market research and developing a tourism database. We have realised that ZOU is a registered higher learning institution therefore we seek to improve our expertise in different fields of the tourism industry. We thank ZOU for the partnership and look forward to a lasting relationship that will benefit the nation,” said Kaseke.
Kaseke added there were a lot of people based in remote areas who were doing a great job in as much as tourism was concerned but unfortunately they lacked knowledge. Thus ZOU is expected to extend such kind of education.
He said Zimbabwe was open for business so the two parties should move together to achieve their goals as well as implement projects which raise awareness in the nation’s tourism industry.