THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is engaged in negotiations to bring Spanish football giants Real Madrid for a friendly match against the Warriors, state radio reported Monday.
ZTA boss, Karikoga Kaseke reportedly confirmed the development adding contactswith the La Liga side were initiated during the recent FITUR International Travel and Tourism Fair held in Spain.
According to the ZBC, Kaseke broached the idea during a meeting with Real Madrid vice president Lorenzo Sanz last Saturday and both sides have since agreed to establish teams to work on the modalities and logistics of the trip.
The move is part of a publicity campaign for the country’s tourism sector which has already seen visits by the Brazilian national side and a host of global artists, including Shakira, Akon and Sean Paul.
Along with mining, tourism has been one of the better performing sectors as the country’s economy continues to recover after nearly collapsing over the last decade.
A combination of worsening economic problems and political tensions as well increasingly frosty relations with the West saw visitors from key source markets such as Europe and the America’s ditch the country in numbers.
But visitor numbers are up again as the sector benefits from an improvement in the economy as well as a more peaceful political environment after the coalition government came into office in 2009.
The ZTA said visitor numbers were up 19 percent last year due to renewed interest from Europe and the America’s while arrivals from China alone were up 23 percent.