By Byron Mutingwende
Prisca Mupfumira, the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry has used the International Tourism Fair in Spain (FITUR) to market Zimbabwe as a safe tourist destination.
The platform to address the delegates was her maiden international engagement as the new minister of tourism and especially so in Spain – a splendid tourist destination that is home to Madrid the Headquarters of our United Nations World Tourism Organisation. (UNWTO).
Mupfumira is serving in the new government led by President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, the Head of State and Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
“I know for the past thirty-seven years people had gotten used to hearing of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, but I am here today under a new dispensation that has seen a change in the leadership of Zimbabwe, something people would not have imagined a few months ago.
“The month of November 2017 will for ever be remembered by many as it brought about a serious transformation in our beloved country. The people of Zimbabwe spoke in a manner that surprised the whole world. The most peaceful transfer of power was witnessed in Zimbabwe on 24 November 2017, which is the date when our President was inaugurated. This followed events that unfolded on 14 November when the Zimbabwean Military intervened in what had become a serious cause of concern across the political divide both in the ruling ZANU PF party and more so in the opposition parties,” Mupfumira said.
The minister alluded to the development that led to the resignation from office by the veteran leader, President Robert Mugabe, who was succeeded by His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“It is not my intention to bore you with the details of what happened suffice to say that the history of Zimbabwe, the African Continent and indeed the World has been enriched with a new chapter that makes very interesting reading. The peaceful demonstration that was held on 18 November 2017 totally changed the image and perception of Zimbabwe from a country perceived to be at war with itself to an exceptionally safe and peaceful country that is in love with mankind. Zimbabwe is a country where people from all walks of life, different political, religious and ideological persuasions as well as diverse races live in harmony.”
Since the dust had settled, the Minister assured the world that Zimbabwe was now open for business and visitors, trading partners and investors alike while everyone was welcome in the country that is full of amazing business opportunities.
In his inaugural speech, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe articulated his Government’s commitment to bringing the country back to normalcy and assured the world of many positive expectations and outcomes.
President Mnangagwa reiterated the fact that Zimbabwe subscribes to and affirms the principle where all nations of the world are equal and sovereign partners working towards the maintenance of world peace as collectively cherished under the United Nations Charter.
He promised that the country was committed to ensuring that the pillars of the State assuring democracy in the land were to be strengthened and respected. Zimbabwe will fully reaffirm its membership to the family of nations, and express its commitment to playing its part in all regional, continental and international organisations and arrangements.
The country had riled under sanctions for almost two decades and there is no going back to that situation again. The developments in Zimbabwe have resulted in greater acceptance to the international community with which the priority is reengagement.
“We therefore plead to the international community to support Zimbabwe in its transformation and to give this new dispensation a fair chance. On our part, Government has unveiled a raft of policy interventions and reforms that make the country once again attractive for tourists, traders and investors. Just as an example, the new government led by President Mnangagwa has amended the infamous indigenisation laws thus making Zimbabwe more attractive to investors.”
Zimbabwe is a blessed country, endowed with numerous resources that its people are ready to share with the world for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe and mankind. On the tourism front, it is an undisputed fact that Zimbabwe is a very beautiful and attractive destination with some of the finest tourist attractions such as the Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Notwithstanding the great tourism potential, the country had lost its rightful place in the world of tourism due to the fall out with the international community.
Nevertheless, under the new dispensation, focus is on a number of key quick wins that will see destination Zimbabwe thriving in the near future. Among these is the designation of the Special Economic Zones that has seen the corridor from Victoria Falls to Kariba attracting a lot of investment in developing infrastructure, product development and industry capacity building.
With the increasing significant contribution of the domestic market to tourism growth, it is earmarked as one of the key pillars to focus stakeholders look at increasing local participation and involvement in tourism development. Domestic tourism is important bedrock for tourism and efforts will be increased on promoting tourism business development especially among women and youth.
“Additionally, work on consolidating the national tourism accounting system, which is expected to be complete by mid-June is under way. We expect to have more accurate statistics on tourism activities and income generation both domestically and internationally. In all these and other key duties under my forte, it is my wish to sincerely plead with you all for your support and cooperation. We need you. Zimbabwe needs you.”
The international world is endorsing the new Zimbabwe so overwhelmingly, a clear sign that the country is on a new path that is recognised by the world family of nations.
Indeed, the world has demonstrated its confidence in the country by inviting the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland taking place next week – A world renowned forum where the international leaders meet to dialogue on matters of economic and political importance.
“It is my hope that the world travel trade and media will walk with us as we seek to reposition Zimbabwe on the global tourism market. We are now more open for tourism, trade and indeed for business. To the international cooperating partners and other world bodies like the UNWTO my simple message is Zimbabwe is open for business, let us engage and re-engage for the benefit of our people. Zimbabwe is ready to walk the talk,” Mupfumira added.