By Matabeleland North Correspondent
ENVIRONMENT, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu says Zimbabwe has not been thorough in its marketing drive to attract tourists into the country.
The prevailing Covid-19 pandemic literally decimated the tourism industry with the restrictions on international travel.
Most countries, Zimbabwe included were left with the option of domestic tourism which over the years had not been promoted as the industry reveled in international clients.
With the slow relaxation of lockdowns, regional travel has also come in as an option in the absence of international tourists, but lack of investment in intra-Africa tourism negates the development.
Speaking while celebrating Matetsi Victoria Falls Luxury Lodge’s award as the best hotel in Africa for 2021, in Victoria Falls recently, Ndlovu said Zimbabwe’s tourism needs a robust marketing strategy.
Then country is pushing the ZimBho campaign and wants an international strategy to attract travellers back into the country.
“We have not fully marketed our country. We held a meeting in Cape Verde recently where we looked at how to promote intra Africa travel.
Countries need connecting flights so that travel between out nations becomes available and affordable. So while we are marketing our
countries, let’s also make travel affordable for our people,” he said.
Tourists into Zimbabwe and other countries from the region have to fly into South Africa to connect to their destination.
The country used to have direct flights to Windhoek in Namibia, Nairobi in Kenya and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
Other long-haul flights come via South Africa.
Turning to Matetsi, Ndlovu said the award is a proud moment for the industry and country and a true reflection of the hard work and attention to detail and excellence.
“These are sacrifices that we don’t take lightly as we want to celebrate with them this massive achievement. To the whole industry I say, here is your peer who has raised the bar. We just need to
continue upping our game and market our country. Destination Zimbabwe is certainly the best in Africa, and we have to maintain that,” he said.
The lodge which is located about 40km outside Victoria Falls along Zambezi River, excelled through quality service to clients and unmatched conservation work.
The lodge has trained its own scouts who will be protecting fauna and flora.
Before training an in-house anti-poaching unit, Matetsi had to contend with the expensive anti-poaching inland and along the Zambezi river where illegal hunters, mostly from across the river in Zambia.
Five years ago, there were literally no animals left in the Matetsi concession because of poaching and vandalism of water sources and Matetsi installed solar boreholes which has resulted in sustainable supply and return of hundreds of animals including four of the Big Five.