The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the tourism players are participating at the prestigious World Travel Market (WTM) being held at Excel in London, the UK from 5 – 7 November 2018.
Speaking in an interview, the Chief Executive of the ZTA, Dr Karikoga Kaseke, confirmed Zimbabwe’s participation at this year’s edition of the WTM with the over – arching objective of increasing tourist traffic to boost the economy.
“Tourism is a key growth engine in the national economy and as such, potential has been identified in Europe which is our traditional source market and very key. Europe’s tourist arrivals in the first half of 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 increased by 29% to 101 101 from 78 225. The increase is indicative of the immense potential that Europe has. WTM is therefore critical for us as not only Europe, but the global tourism industry will be under roof.” he said. Kaseke added that he is thrilled to see the industry show a keen interest in WTM as we have 30 players having registered to participate there, a jump from only 9 who participated last year.
The industry players include Love For Africa, Mbano Manor Hotel, Rainbow Tourism Group, Avis Rent A Car to mention but a few. “The UK is an important market for us hence the industry players are excited to participate at this show given the new winds of change in the country and the re-engagement drive that Zimbabwe is on. Indeed we anticipate massive deals to be clinched during the show which will in turn boost our business.” remarked Shelley Cox of Great Plains Conservation.
A heightened interest in Zimbabwe has been registered by global media houses such as the BBC, Discovery Channel and Aljazeera who are coming to the Zimbabwe stand to interface with Zimbabwe. “For close to two decades the global media was very hostile towards Zimbabwe and churned out very negative publicity. This saw the tourism industry witness a tremendous dip in arrivals. We are happy that we have interviews and engagements lined up with the BBC, Discovery Channel and Aljazeera to mention but a few which reveals an attitude change. We hope to leverage on this publicity to speak the Zimbabwean story.” Kaseke remarked.
Of interest is the signing of the MOU for the promotion of Zimbabwe’s Tourism and Hospitality Industry between Zimbabwe and Aljazeera that took place today at the Zimbabwe stand. The MOU will see Zimbabwe’s tourism and the hospitality industry being promoted across Aljazeera’s media platforms. The engagement with high profile international media houses is in line with the ZTA’s quest of enhancing the image and repositioning of Destination Zimbabwe in major tourist source markets.
WTM is the second largest travel show in the world after Germany’s International Travel Bourse (ITB). It attracts 51 000 global travel trade hotel professionals such as tour operators, airlines, and international media from all over the world.