The participation of local tourism players in the World Travel Market Africa (WTM) tourism show in Cape Town, South Africa, last week is the start of the sector’s recovery post-Covid-19, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has said. The WTM Africa tourism show was launched in 2004 and attracts over 6 000 travel industry professionals for business to business (B2B) exhibition for both the inbound and outbound African travel and tourism markets.
Said the ZTA: “(The) participation at the WTM Africa is the beginning of the tourism recovery journey for destination Zimbabwe which has been anchored by the domestic tourism market since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. “Zimbabwe will participate at a number of regional and international tourism shows in key source markets as part of the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy.”
ZTA says participation at international travel shows such as these will go a long way towards building a positive image and confidence for destination Zimbabwe. “It also presents Zimbabwe with the opportunity to transform her image, which over the years has not been consistently positive, in the source markets.”
The tourism sector is seen as a low-hanging fruit for Zimbabwe and the Government has introduced a number of incentives to ensure the sector recovers quickly so that it becomes a US$5 billion industry by 2025. Some of the incentives include the waiver of negative PCR test certificates for returning residents and visitors.
They are only required to present a valid vaccination certificate showing they are fully vaccinated. Speaking in Bulawayo during the main Independence celebrations yesterday, President Mnangagwa said in terms of the tourism and hospitality, the increased number of airlines from three at the onset of the Second Republic to the current 17, is testimony of the growth trajectory of the sector as well as the “undeniable success of our engagement and re-engagements efforts”.
“The increased tourism investments of over US$142 million in 2021 and the anticipated rebound of the sector this year, will have positive spill offs to other sub-sectors of the economy including the arts, culture and creative industries. “However, tourism players are encouraged to make our tourism products affordable for locals under the ZimBhoo Tourism Promotion Campaign,” said President Mnangagwa.
Recently, Airlink introduced an additional service where it is now plying the Harare and Durban route, which are seen as important commercial centres and key Airlink markets. Airlink CEO and managing director, Mr Rodger Foster said: “This brand-new route linking the two cities will be our third direct service to Zimbabwe’s capital, along with our flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town. We are certain that the new service will promote commerce and tourism between the cities and between the KwaZulu-Natal and Zimbabwe.
“Having non-stop flights on the route means greater convenience and options for travellers who want to save time and avoid connecting at Johannesburg.” To broaden Zimbabwe’s tourism players engaged the Middle East market in Dubai from March 5 to 6 at the Business Connect Centre. Over 40 delegates drawn from over 25 tourism operators and enablers participated. Acting ZTA chief executive Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said the Middle East has remained a lucrative and untapped market for Zimbabwe.
It is a market that has great potential and will bring high value to the different sectors of tourism,” he said. The past few years have seen Zimbabwe gaining access into this market as witnessed by the introduction of flights by two of the main airlines from the Middle East namely Emirates and Qatar. Mr Chidzidzi said access is key in tourism development and growth, hence the two airlines have changed the aviation landscape in Zimbabwe.
As we position destination Zimbabwe for recovery after the ravaging impact of Covid-19 to our sector, we appreciate the confidence that the two airlines have bestowed on our destination. “We are optimistic that our collective approach as a sector will soon yield the much-desired results and we will be able to still attain our US$5 billion Tourism Economy by 2025.” The Government facilitated Zimbabwe’s presence at the Expo 2020 Dubai to market opportunities available in the country.