By Byron Mutingwende
The minister of tourism and hospitality industry, Priscah Mupfumira has announced a new paradigm to effect measures that foster tourism revival.
In her speech during a media cocktail at Cresta Lodge in Harare on 19 April 2018, Mupfumira said her ministry and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority was embarking on a number of initiatives in line with President Mnangagwa’s call for concerted efforts in spurring economic revival.
“My ministry launched the domestic tourism policy in January after I assumed the new office as minister of tourism. We have reviewed the national tourism policy and the ministry’s strategic plan. This was done through developing the national tourism sector strategy which is in its final stages,” Mupfumira said.
The minisiter highlighted that she, together with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is on a massive international re-engagement programme with various meetings in Africa and at the International Tourism Bureau.
“We have operationalised the tourism revolving fund and are in the process of developing and fine-tuning the destination and brand intensifying the marketing and promotional strategy as well as the digital marketing efforts. This is underpinned by an open door policy where we entertain all media, be it from the public or private sector. In that way, I will be able to respond to all tourism related issues.”
Karikoga Kaseke, the ZTA Chief Executive said under the new dispensation, it was no longer business as usual and thanked the minister for allowing him to use his abilities to improve the sector.
“As the ZTA, the minister has directed us to double tourism arrivals by the year 2020, which are currently at 2, 5 million and by year-end should be over 3 million. The 2019 projections should increase to about 4 million and 2020 is expected to have over 5 million arrivals,” Kaseke said.
That is achievable judging from the overwhelming response from the international market following the various marketing initiatives the tourism sector players are undertaking internationally. For the ZTA to increase arrivals, the National Tourism Organisation needs to be well finanacially resoureced.
Foster Dongozi, the Secrertary-General of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) welcomed the engagement of the media by the ministry of tourism and the ZTA.
“This engagement is of paramount importance. Different arms of government or the private sector should harness the media’s potential for the good of the country. This is even more important for the ministry of tourism, which depends on the positive vibrations emitted by the media. Indeed, the media plays a leading role in national branding.
“Equally, the ministry and ZTA can contribute to condemning acts of aggression and destabilisation against journalists. A country not friendly to the media will always struggle to attract tourists or investors,” Dongozi said.
He called for the establishment of the national dress and some books on tourism. Dongozi said there were opportunities for the tourism sector to come up with media awards in recognition of ethical and professional reporting in the tourism sector.