By Daniel Chigundu
ENVIRONMENT, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira has called on the country’s tourism sector to take advantage of marketing opportunities at the 2018 edition of the Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) scheduled for 6-10 March in Berlin, Germany.
ITB is arguably the biggest tourism fair in the world which brings together tour operators, tourism boards, tourism service providers and government officials and also provides a unique destination marketing opportunity among many others.
The minister is expected to lead a team of about 26 tourism players composed of accommodation sector (11operators), tour operators (11), vehicle hire (1) and parastatals (3).
Addressing the media during a pre-ITB briefing, Minister Mupfumira said local players should be at their best as the Germany market is key to the country in terms of arrivals.
“As we gather here today, ladies and gentlemen, it is my wish that we have fruitful and productive participation at the forthcoming fair; it is my wish that we take full advantage of and capitalise on the expected business from ITB in Berlin.
“As you might be aware ITB is the world’s largest travel show where the whole world tourism converges, the fair is said to have recorded business engagement to the tune of 7 billion in 2018 and as such we ought to tap into this and benefit from this cake especially that we are considered one of the best destinations to visit during 2019.
“The Germany market remains one of Zimbabwe’s key source markets ranked 3rd in overseas arrivals after USA and UK contributing 39 934 arrivals in 2018, a clear indication of the significance of this market for Zimbabwean tourism,” said the minister,” she said.
Since the coming in of the new dispensation, Zimbabwe through the tourism sector has been on an aggressive marketing drive in a bid to lure tourists to the country.
Tourism has been identified among the key pillars of economic revival in the country and has already started delivering fruits through various investments that have been recorded mainly in Victoria Falls with prospects of more coming as the year progresses.
Minister also took the opportunity to pay tribute to the country’s tourism players for their contribution to the sector and marketing of Destination Zimbabwe and their interest in ITB.
“I am particularly overwhelmed by the subscription to this year’s ITB; I know you are talking about 26 now I am sure by next week the figures would have increased.
“I know the enthusiasm which is there and am sure we should be proud that as a sector business is booming amid all the other negatives which may be there, but as for tourism, me and my team we say business is booming and we want to thank you all the tourist team players for the job well-done during the year 2018 in particular.
“And we have started 2019 on a good note and this indeed confirms the passion you have for the industry and we thank you very much. Your efforts have not only seen the increased tourists arrivals to 2.6million in 2018 but have also contributed to the global recognition of Zimbabwe as a tourism destination which came as assurance of safety and security across the market as well as the brand Zimbabwe,” she said.