Marytise Vambayi and Kudzaishe Muhamba
THE new Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mrs Winnet Muchanyuka was unveiled yesterday and tasked with hitting the ground running to transform the organisation in line with new global trends.
Mrs Muchanyuka replaces Dr Karikoga Kaseke who resigned last year due to ill-health.
She takes over from long-serving staffer, Mr Givemore Chidzidzi, who has been the acting CEO.
ZTA board chairman Mr Ray Mawerera commended Mr Chidzidzi for holding forte in the few past months.
He also spoke about the successful launch of the ZimBho domestic tourism campaign and the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) initiative as some of Mr Chidzidzi's career highlights.
Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said the appointment of Mrs Muchanyuka was a step in the right direction, as she is "not a stranger to the tourism industry".
"The industry awaited such an appointment with comfort.
"There are high hopes for tourism amid clear signs of recovery in the sector. Statistically, the first quarter of 2022 has been quite promising and there is a need to maintain that trajectory.
"Tourism inflows increased by 100 percent to register US$214 million this quarter. As we are opening up the sector, the tourism industry should grow bigger and bigger. ZTA is the critical bridge between the private sector and policy making.
"Despite the fact that tourism struggled under Covid-19, there is hope for it to grow bigger. The US$5 billion tourism sector target is achievable if we work together. We seek to review the targets only upwards," said Minister Ndlovu.
The ZTA and the tourism sector, said Minister Ndlovu, should forge close ties with the media.
Minister Ndlovu is expected to announce the new ZTA board members next Wednesday.
Mrs Muchanyuka, affectionately known in the industry as Ms Winnie, accepted the appointment, adding that she was happy to ride on the success of her predecessors.
"The ZTA team has done and continues to do tremendous work towards growing the tourism industry. I pledge my support to the mandate given to me by the principal, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu, the tourism minister and the US$5 billion tourism target he alluded to is not changing.
"In fact, we can surpass it. Zimbabwe needs to achieve an (upper) middle-income economy by 2030 and tourism plays a key role in achieving that goal.
"I am also looking forward to a close partnership with the media in telling the good story of this country. I am excited to be starting on this journey," said Mrs Muchanyuka.