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Tourism boss defends missing Chinese

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ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) boss Karikoga Kaseke has defended China’s absence at the recently ended Sanganai-Hlanganani World Tourism Expo, blaming recent media reports of Ebola in Zimbabwe as the reason for the poor attendance.
Out of the 90 buyers who graced the event, China had only one buyer from Hong Kong, raising questions about the Asian economic giant’s commitment and sincerity as a strategic investment partner for Zimbabwe.
36 buyers were from Europe, the highest number ahead of Africa which had 34. Most of the buyers were from France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Poland, Netherlands, Slovenia and Switzerland.
The Middle East had seven buyers, the United States two and Russia had none.
Asked during a press briefing, what could have contributed to Zimbabwe’s “all-weather friends” poor attendance, Kaseke blamed media reports of Ebola in Zimbabwe.
“China has an Ebola council which discouraged its business people from attending after recent media reports that there is Ebola in Zimbabwe,” said Kaseke.
He was however, not convinced that the better showing from Europe represented a softening of the West’s position on Zimbabwe.
“Tourism is about people. It is not political; it’s about people and not government,” said Kaseke.
“They (the West) have issued travel warnings but their people are defying them. It’s a people-to-people business and not government-to-government business.”
The United States and the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions against Harare more than a decade ago, accusing President Robert Mugabe’s administration of rights abuses and electoral fraud.
The veteran leader denied the allegations and introduced a Look-East policy which saw the country turn to China for support.Advertisement