Hospitality concern, Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG), has launched an integrated mobile application RTG Gateway, a first for the industry that is expected to boost domestic tourism and enhance the ease of doing business within the tourism sector. The application is expected to promote domestic tourism by increasing visibility of smaller brands in the country, while providing convenience in service delivery across value chains.
On the RTG Gateway, the market can book for hotels, restaurants, boat cruises, transport services and make purchases using their mobile devices as well as make payments online.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira, who officially launched the application, said this was a step in the right direction as this is anticipated to increase visibility of tourism and hospitality products in the country for both domestic and global markets.
"This is an industry first and a good way to revolutionise the way people transact, it is a good step towards increasing access to tourism by everyone that is Zimbabweans here and those in the diaspora," she said.
Minister Mupfumira added this came at a time when the tourism and hospitality industry is pushing for further growth and its contribution to the country's gross domestic product, which was at 11 percent last year.
The sector also contributed 5 percent of the country's foreign currency inflows and Minister Mupfumira said there was room for further growth.
The RTG Gateway App already has 200 partners signed up, which include 40 restaurants, 30 private houses, 72 virtual partners, shuttle transport services providers among other hospitality products and service providers.
The App comes after another initiative RTG Virtual of 2014, which by 2017 channeled business worth over $1,5 million, 10 percent of which comes to the group as commission.
RTG chief executive officer Tendai Madziwanyika, said the launch of the App was in the long term expected to have a positive impact on pricing of hospitality products and enhance job creation.
"Right now some lodges are not known, but will be more visible if added onto the App, there are private homes also offering accommodation.
"People will have a wider selection of products to choose from and generally if supply is high the price is bound to go down," said Mr Madziwanyika.
Mr Madziwanyika added the App will also increase competition in the sector, which in turn will ensure quality products and services for the market.
On the App, consumers have an option to choose from a selection of hotels, lodges and private homes, chose restaurants - menu or book for airport transfers. This means people outside Zimbabwe can also make bookings and make payments online on the App.
The App caters not only for RTG products, but every other tourism and hospitality product and service available in Zimbabwe and is expected to sign up more partners.
Mr Madziwanyika said the world was going digital, and therefore there was scope for tapping into the information and communication technology (ICT) to enhance service delivery.
Global trends also show that businesses in developed countries are being conducted mainly through Internet based platforms.