INSPIRED by the success of the ZimBho domestic tourism campaign, Government is working on rolling out a complementing initiative to encourage meetings and conferences as a boost to tourism.
Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism sector was one of the hardest-hit economic sectors globally as countries imposed national lockdowns and travel restrictions to contain the health crisis.
Government, through the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry came up with an offensive towards drumming up support for domestic tourism through the “ZimBho! Campaign and #IzimYami #Vakatsha” whose target is to raise awareness among locals about the vast tourism and leisure facilities the country is endowed with.
The campaign seeks to encourage a culture of holidaying among locals to boost domestic tourism, which had been overlooked over the years as industry players focused on international tourism.
The ZimBho initiative has so far borne fruits and Tourism Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said another campaign is on the cards with the aim of boosting the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (Mice) tourism sub-sector.
“While the pandemic brought our tourism sector to a virtual halt in 2020, I am pleased to note that the sector has remained resolute with most support coming from our locals through domestic tourism.
“Local travel was activated by the ZimBho Domestic Tourism Campaign while the Visit Zimbabwe Campaign is targeting the revival of the international source markets.
“My ministry and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is currently working on yet another campaign soon to be rolled out aimed at boosting the MICE. All I can say at this stage is watch this space for details,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu said this while addressing industry players comprising various tour operators and executives as well as other stakeholders at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ZTA and District Development Fund (DDF) for launch of Falcon Air’s seamless travel around the country’s resorts at Hwange National Park Airport on Monday.
He said the global surge of the Covid-19 pandemic saw a decline of tourist arrivals from early 2020 and these have remained subdued due to global travel restrictions as nations battle to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The country imposed new lockdown measures starting on Monday owing to a surge in new cases and deaths.
Over the past decade, tourist arrivals into Zimbabwe had been on an upward trend, rising from 1,7 million in 2012 to 2,56 million in 2018, an average growth rate of six percent per annum, said Minister Ndlovu.
He said the lockdown period has been difficult for tourism.
Government is committed to reviving tourism and has been putting in place a variety of measures to promote the sector which is one of the major foreign currency earners.
Plans are under way to roll out provincial tourism conferences whose aim is to assist operators to showcase activities and products in their areas to boost domestic tourism.
The programme will be premised on the ongoing ZimBho #IZimYami #Vakatsha campaign and spearheaded by ZTA.
All is aimed at telling the world that Zimbabwe is ready for tourists and is hinged on the Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy. — @ncubeleon.