The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Malaysia 'Steals' Travellers' Hearts

Addis Ababa — ZIMBABWEAN travel agents and tour operators who left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for Ethiopia on Wednesday night have described their Malaysian experience as an eye opener and have pledged to sell the destination back home. The eight member delegation, comprising some of Zimbabwe's leading agents and operators, is now in Addis Ababa continuing its familiarisation tour of Ethiopian Airlines services. Having stayed in the Malaysian city for three days, they described ET's new destination as a marvel that Zimbabwean travelers should experience.

Mr Tanaka Mhonda of Zimbabwe International Travel and Tours described Malaysia as one of the best tourist attractions in the world.

"We have learnt tourism is the second highest earner of foreign currency in Malaysia while also contributing significantly to their GDP. Malaysia for me is a unique destination as it combines almost a bit of everything as far as tourism is concerned by this I mean, they have got the fauna in terms of the natural environment.

"There are also things like water sports even on the other resort town of Borneo. The culture is also unique in its diversity so for me it was really an eye opener," noted Mr Mhonda

He said for the majority of the Zimbabwean travelling clientele they have as ZIIT, were not looking for something specific but just to have a good holiday so it's now up to him to convince them to go to Malaysia.

"We will be selling the holidays; they have got a number of beautiful hotels as well as activities and even the shopping. Of course, for a long time people have felt that the place for shopping is Dubai or Hong Kong but we're saying there's a new destination which you can try which is Malaysia," he said.

For Mrs Yvonne Musirinofa of Traverze the trip has been a life changing experience that will help her create better informed packages for her clients.

"I'm grateful to ET for giving us this opportunity of visiting Malaysia. I have been doing family holidays to Malaysia for the past two years and have been averaging ten families a year. I had to work with information that I got from the internet as I had never been there and now that I have visited the country I now appreciate it and its diverse cultures and unique climate.

"I'm now able to create even better packages for my clients from the experience that I have gained and know the places to send them to in terms of accommodation and activities and also the right information on what to expect in Malaysia. There is so much to do for families, honeymooners and individuals. The flight there might be long but ET is very comfortable." She said.

Donald Hondo of Premier Holidays said Malaysia was an experience for various number of reasons. Other than them having an opportunity to shop they can go on excursions and see the beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur also there are various other islands like Langkhawi where families can go relax and unwind.

"One could think of it being a destination which a number of Zimbabweans have not visited, you think of the fact that they (Zimbabweans) have gone to South Africa, Victoria Falls and Malaysia has got a lot to offer for Zimbabwean tourists," he said.

ET launched the Harare-Kuala Lumpur route in October 2012 and is flying into the city three times a week. The route will open new avenues for Zimbabwean tourists, students and traders.

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