The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is working with the parent ministry to develop a Domestic Tourism Campaign as it seeks ways to sustain the sector in the event of declining foreign arrivals.
On Wednesday, the authority held a brain storming session with stakeholders in the industry to find ways of carrying out a successful, vibrant and mutually beneficial domestic tourism campaign.
In his opening remarks, Acting ZTA Chief Executive, Givemore Chidzidzi, said the campaign was aimed at making sure that domestic tourism was the major contributor to the country’s economy, adding it was part of the 100 day plan of the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
Chidzidzi said for a long time the tourism sector had been characterized by low participation of locals as tourism was viewed as being very expensive thus a preserve for foreigners.
“Most successful tourism sectors in the world have strong domestic tourism as their backbone, like in Europe. International tourism should be just an icing on the cake,” he said.
He said there was need to intensify awareness among the local population on what the country had to offer and create interest.
“Tourism can be vibrant but we need to instil the culture of going out and inform Zimbabweans of the available products and promotions. There is currently a serious imbalance in the spread of attractions visited so our own locals can visit the unknown destinations and popularize them,” he said.
Chidzidzi said there was a lot of untapped potential growth in the domestic tourism market and the country needed to take advantage of the new dispensation to explore and discover attractions within their reach.
ZTA Executive Director for Planning, Research and Development, Sophie Zirebwa, said after the brain storming session, the authority would set up a steering committee comprised of different stakeholders which would come up with a report on the way forward.
She said it was necessary for the ZTA to effectively communicate with stakeholders in the industry and create a platform for feedback.
“The ZTA will play a leading role in engaging stakeholders to facilitate growth of our tourism. We cannot do it alone and need the support of industry, so we are calling on volunteers to ensure we achieve at least 50 percent of the things on our purview,” she said.Advertisement
As part of the 100 day plan, the authority, working with the parent ministry, will seek to rebrand the 10 publicity associations in the country into Tourism Information Centres, reduce rates of tourism products and services as well as coordinate the development of affordable domestic packages and products.