By Tatenda Mujeyi
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has partnered with the Harare City Council to venture into township tourism and market Zimbabwean townships.
“We are indeed delighted and honoured to have you here, to participate, discuss and share in this Township Tourism Workshop under the theme ‘Unlocking & Empowering township communities through Tourism,” ZTA Chief Operating Officer Givemore Chidzidzi said in his welcome remarks at the workshop held in Mbare yesterday.
The move tallies well with the government’s mantra of establishing a upper middle economy status by 2030.
“The move comes at a point in time when the nation has a vision of becoming a middle class economy by 2030. Township tourism plays a catalyst role in stimulating economic development that enables the nation to achieve this vision,” Chidzidzi said.
The move is aimed at syncing with the growing global trajectory of changes in the interests of tourists.
“International and National statistics reveal that tourist’s interests in destinations are rapidly changing, with many of them seeking destinations that have a vast cultural heritage and historical buildings and sites,” Chidzidzi said.
The township tourism campaign will be conducted in Harare’s Mbare and Highfields townships considering their rich history.
“Mbare and Highfield residential areas have been identified as areas with vast culture and history which can be of interest to tourists. However these have not been properly packaged and promoted for consumption of both the domestic and international tourists.”
The workshop explored other attempts in the region that Zimbabwe could explore to gain knowledge on the requisites to better market the township tourism efforts.
“We piloted a project in Cape Town to better market the Langa Township as a tourist destination of choice from which Zimbabwe can take lessons from,” Urban Culture and Heritage Institute, UCHI, representative Norah Elisabeth Mueller said at the event.
The event proffered recommendations that could be implemented to better the conditions of township tourism.
“There is need to package township tourism, cleanliness, cultured communities, business hubs, quality products and security of tourists should be centralised to improve tourist’s engagement in township tourism,” Nyathi Travel and Tours representative Mr De. Johng also said at the event.
The event was attended by government representatives, Harare City council representatives, global fund representatives, touring companies and the Mbare Tourist market representatives.