THE governnment has approved an advertising blitz to market Zimbabwe on the major global television channels in a campaign whose cost is expected to run into millions of dollars, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi has said.
In a statement outlining the country’s preparations for hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s congress next year, Mzembi said the first advert to be flighted on CNN at a cost of US$1,5 million is already in place.
“The CNN media advertorial has already been approved. It just needs US$1.5 million and it will cover 588 bytes of 45 seconds each on Zimbabwe. In those bytes, we should be able to sell, not tourism with the Victoria Falls, but sell brand Zimbabwe,” he said.
“In that byte, we should be able to sell our agriculture, sell our mining, sell our people and sell all our wonders in their totality, because every square inch that we sit on today or that we stand on, represents a tourism product.”
“Victoria Falls cannot happen to the exclusion of our politics, of our social and economic well-being. So, I would hope that, that brand caption, the 45 seconds byte which we intend to roll out in January captures the totality of our Zimbabwe and we sell it to the outside world.”
Zimbabwe will jointly host the tourism congress with Zambia at the shared Victoria Falls resort on the border between the two countries.
Mzembi said delegations representing up to 186 governments, more than 400 journalists from various global networks like CNN, BBC, ICTV, and Aljazeera, France 24 would cover the event.
“Europe is assisted by the same media to rapidly get past Mad Cow and NH3. Through highlighting famine, countries like Ethiopia and Mali have been rubbished even through images accompanying western songs like ‘we are the World’ which have accomplished very little,” said Mzembi.
“Images of street kids and beggars are shown to disparage Africa’s brand, whilst British adult street kids languishing at the entrance to Zimbabwe House on the Strand in London, are never covered by the BBC.”
Tourism has been one of the fastest grown sectors of the economy with the government projecting its contribution to GDP growth would average 8.2 per cent over the next decade.