The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Hon. Prisca Mupfumira (MP) is leading a delegation comprising of The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), the tourism industry and media on her second international re-engagement series tour across major tourism source markets; South Africa, United Kingdom and Germany.
This series is scheduled to kick off on Tuesday to the 11th of March.
Speaking in an interview at her offices in Harare, Mupfumira iterated on the importance of this programme citing the need to re-invigorate presence in these markets and generate immense business from them.
"This is my first international re-engagement tour since my appointment as Tourism Minister and I am ready to trumpet the President's message that "Zimbabwe is open for business". Various stakeholders such as fellow government officials from these markets, tour operators, the media, the diaspora community, investors are our target for this message as we seek to educate them on policies that have since changed since the new dispensation in order to attract more travel to Zimbabwe and more interest from investors." she remarked.
This is the first leg of the re-engagement efforts as these countries are the among the top key traditional source markets.
The Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Karikoga expressed excitement at this programme and hopes it marks the beginning of the growth curve in tourist influx.
"We are more than excited to run with this re-engagement initiative, the first of many to come, as there is need to stimulate or re-awaken the lost interest in our source markets. We are happy to trek together with our new Minister on this drive and believe that tourism will never be the same again. 2018 is a good year and I say this with much optimism as this initiative coincides with the teething stages of the new dispensation. This initiative on its own is a reflection of our sincerity and readiness when we say we are open for business." he said.
Meanwhile the industry players participating in this series in part include African Sun, Cresta Hospitality Group, Rainbow Tourism Group , Legacy Hotels, Siluwane Tours and Chilo Gorge Lodge to mention but a few.
"These companies expressed exuberance and are ready to take on this re-engagement feat and hope realise much business as they interface with several tourism suppliers. A series of meetings with fellow tourism ministers and other government officials have been scheduled whilst media interfaces and exclusive interviews are lined up with various media houses both local and international.
The programme coincides with other major events in these source markets. In South Africa, Meetings Africa, a Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) show will be running and in the U.K the Zimbabwe International Business Exchange (ZITE) will also be running to engage the market and even educate the diasporans on investment opportunities available. In Germany there will be the International Travel Bourse (ITB) running during the tour.
"We chose to leverage and ride on major events on the global tourism calendar to herald our presence as a new Zimbabwe. The past 16 or 18 years have seen tourist arrivals slump tremendously due to circumstances of our own making but our fortunes will definitely turn around as we re-engage and stimulate these markets in the new age." Kaseke added.
South Africa, because of its proximity has been giving Zimbabwe the bulk of arrivals. Meanwhile Germany and the U.K have remained suppressed in terms of performance yet they are the key traditional markets and this re-engagement tour seeks to address this.