By Daniel Chigundu
THE country’s tourism Ambassador for Ghana and West Africa Nancy Sam has called on the Zimbabwean government to consider introducing flights to West Africa if it hopes to draw tourists from that region.
Zimbabwe is in the process of trying to attract as much tourists into country via various marketing means and strategies.
Some of the strategies include participating at travel shows, appointing ambassadors and establishing marketing offices in lucrative markets and hosting of the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo among others.
However, the lack of meaningful airlines that connect Zimbabwe and some of these destinations has been a bottleneck in the marketing strategy.
Speaking at a press conference, Ambassador Sam said most people in West Africa love to travel and it would be beneficial to the country if it introduce flights to that region.
“We are praying that Zimbabwe will fly an airline to West Africa and that will be a kill and we will be able to fill those flights.
“In West Africa, they travel a lot and Ghana is the gateway to West Africa we have 45 airlines flying every day and Ghanaians travel a lot and we are 25 million and look at the population even if we have 5 percent of them coming to Zimbabwe it will be a lot,” she said.
It remains to be seen how this issues will be addressed as Air Zimbabwe is currently facing viability challenges owing to a huge debt overhang which has seen it fail to acquire spare parts form its aircrafts.
Most tourists into Zimbabwe mainly come by road which takes long in some instances and poses challenges for some tourists.
According Sam every year they have about 5 million people going to South Africa, adding that they know more about South Africa than any other country on the continent.
She said when people in Ghana want a travel record before they go to Europe; they go to South Africa first before proceeding to get a visa and eventually travelling.
According to Sam Johannesburg to Victoria Falls is less than an hour, adding that tour operators must do multiple destinations and include Zimbabwe in their packages.
The Ambassador also encouraged tour operators to consider participating in mini travel shows that take place in Ghana.
Speaking at the same occasion, another Zimbabwe tourist Ambassador Virginia Mukwesha also took the opportunity to talk about the German market adding that she has already convinced some people to attend the Harare International Carnival scheduled for early October.-