Zimbabwe: Govt Plans Provincial Tourism Conferences

THE Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry is planning 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, which is spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).

The interventions are meant to tell the world that Zimbabwe is ready for tourists and is hinged on the Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy.

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, said each province should have an input in crafting provincial development strategies in line with the country's devolution agenda and feed into the National Development Strategy (NDS1).

Following the launch of the second phase of vaccination programme by President Mnangagwa last week, ZTA has been mandated to gather footage of citizens' sentiments regarding the vaccination campaign and this will be incorporated in packages for marketing destination Zimbabwe to the outside world.

Specific areas such as Old Bulawayo, Epworth balancing rocks and others that have been lying idle will also be revived and incorporated to promote domestic tourism.

Minister Ndlovu said the ZimBHO campaign has been brilliant so far on the domestic tourism front, with significant impact on international platforms as well.

"A lot of people are talking about ZimBHO and inquiring about places they saw being advertised through the campaign.

"We will be expanding it to make sure that we are also incorporating Covid-19 free tourism," he said.

"We are certainly going to increase the momentum and ZTA has been given mandate to have footage of vaccination activities, talking to people about their feelings so that visitors can hear it from locals.

"There is still enough to be done as we still want to have destination videos or footage from all provinces. We had done two or three provinces. So, ZTA is resuming that programme and currently they are doing Bulawayo.

"In addition to ZimBHO, we will this year do tourism provincial indabas for each province.

"What will happen is that we will take the opportunity to visit some of the places, prominent and not so prominent, but also get stakeholders in that province to feed into their own provincial strategy which has to be crafted by players in the province. We want them to have a say in what they want done in their province," said Minister Ndlovu in an interview.

Under the provincial indaba drive, provinces will also compete in packaging and showcasing natural resources and attractions in their areas.

A national event is likely to be held mid-year. Minister Ndlovu said the ZimBHO campaign was an ongoing project that will impact tourism going forward and its success so far cannot be critiqued now as it is only less than a year old.

He said the target is to bring back tourism products and a lot of progress has been made in restoring Old Bulawayo through efforts from his ministry and the Department of Museums and Monuments.

Provinces must firmly position tourism within their GDP drivers in line with the devolution agenda as all decision making should devolve and have provinces craft their own programmes and run their own tourism, said Minister Ndlovu.

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