The Diaspora market is a critical asset to the promotion of Destination Zimbabwe, Honourable Prisacah Mupfumira, the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry has said.
She made the remarks while addressing the overwhelming, positive and well invigorated multitude in the diaspora in London on the evening of 4 March 2018.
“Your presence indeed makes me feel more at home thanks to your welcoming smiles. Undeniably, Zimbabwe is endowed with a wonderful people and this cannot be taken away from us – the hospitality – the humility and the reception.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, my mission to the United Kingdom is specifically re-engage with you. I must admit that in the previous years, the diaspora market has never been taken seriously and never at any point were your wishes prioritised on national decisions. It is my belief that you are a critical asset to the promotion of destination Zimbabwe because you can tell the Zimbabwe better than anyone else. Your proximity to the market makes you the applicable marketers and ambassadors in varied markets,” Mupfumira said.
The minister revealed that the government accepts and appreciates the important contribution of Zimbabweans in the diaspora to the development of the country.
“I would like you to know that we in the Government want to deepen our engagement with you beyond remittances in order to make you feel at home whether you are here or back in Zimbabwe. The New Government is committed to giving high priority in addressing issues affecting the diaspora.”
The government has made a deliberate effort in mainstreaming the diaspora in the developmental agenda of the new dispensation by creating an enabling environment. As such, it was high time to explore opportunities to invest and launch successful Zimbabwean – led businesses and enterprises.
Mupfumira implored Zimbabweans in the diaspora to bring back the intellectual capital earned from their wide ranging interactions in the diaspora for the creation of the well – needed jobs back home.
Most of the people are carrying the ills of the past which have created a dented picture of Zimbabwe in their hearts and minds. Borrowing from the inaugural speech by President E. D. Mnangagwa, Mupfumira encouraged the diasporas to forget the past and put their heads together for the development of Zimbabwe.
The President had this to say, ‘For close to two decades now, this country went through many developments. While we cannot change the past, there is a lot we can do in the present and the future to give our nation a different positive direction. As we do so, we should never remain hostages to our past. Thus, I humbly appeal to all of us that we let bygones be bygones, readily embracing each other in defining a new destiny. The task at hand is to rebuilding our great country. It principally lies with none but ourselves. We must work together, you me and all of us that make us Zimbabwe.’
Mupfumira said it was that spirit of togetherness that would lead to the shaping of the Zimbabwe everyone wishes to see. She encouraged diasporas to be involved in every sphere of the Zimbabwean economy as there are a number of opportunities for them to explore.
In the tourism front, currently Victoria Falls has been earmarked as a Tourism Special Economic Zone which is premised to see the development of world class tourism facilities and services. In this zone, investment is open the Diasporas to be involved in the development of hotels, shopping malls, theme parks, medical tourism facilities, meetings and conferencing, gaming, nightlife and other tourism related services.
To this end, the Government commits itself to offering tourism investment incentives such as duty exemptions and rebates on capital goods for tourism development zones as well as the provision of the tourism fund.
Zimbabwe is a very beautiful and attractive country with some of the finest tourist attractions from the Majestic Victoria Falls to pristine wildlife and nature as well as bespoke heritage and cultural aesthetics.
“This beauty, ladies and gentlemen can never be left untapped. Hence, my plea tonight to visit Zimbabwe and experience the best tourism product that Zimbabwe beholds. The Government is on the domestic tourism promotion drive with the aim of creating awareness as well as inculcating the culture of travel among ourselves.
“Zimbabwe is for us Zimbabweans and who can make it better apart from us? Tonight, fellow Zimbabweans, I am leaving you with this challenge – where would you want to see Zimbabwe in the next five years? And what are you doing to make Zimbabwe achieve the status you wish for? Let us do the best we can to make our Zimbabwe, the ‘Great Zimbabwe’ we want,” Mupfumira added.
She emphasised the need to dispel myths and stereotypes about Zimbabwe and Africa as a continent and implored diasporas to have a positive storyline about Zimbabwe.
“Let us tell our own story to the world bring up a new vision and inspiring ideas on our motherland.”