By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke says the recent tourism re-engagement mission in the United Kingdom by the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Prisca Mupfumira has begun paying, as the country is set to host a 12 –member media delegation.
The delegation’s objective is to primarily profile the Zimbabwe story on different media platforms across Europe.
During the reengagement mission, Minister Mupfumira conduct a series of roundtables and meetings with the travel industry, diasporans and airlines as well as interviews with influential media among them BBC radio and TV stations.
It is through these engagements that the British and diaspora media expressed their keen interest in exploring Zimbabwe especially after the coming in of the new dispensation in November last year.
Speaking at his offices, Dr Kaseke said the coming in of the journalists is a testimony that the reengagement is working and has already started to produce fruit.
“It is barely two weeks after our return from the UK and already there is an immediate response, there is no better way to show that Zimbabwe is back and indeed open for business.
“The media is our mouthpiece and we would want them to experience Zimbabwe and report objectively, thereby attracting tourists from the UK market.
“Some sections of the UK media have in times past been hostile towards us and churned out negative publicity. We suffered immense damage in terms of our destination image; hence we lost that market share. This press trip seeks to create and at the same time mend media relations in line with the re-engagement drive we are in,” said Dr Kaseke.
According to statistics, the United Kingdom remains Zimbabwe’s top and primary market contributing 73 552 tourist arrivals in 2017.
It is also part of the Zimbabwe Tourism Recovery plan to aggressively promote Zimbabwe in this market such that the country recovers the market share that has been lost since the 90s.
Among the media houses being hosted are The Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, IEA Newspaper and many other Travel and Lifestyle publications.
The visit by the UK group is expected to empower the media to gain firsthand experience of the current situation in Zimbabwe, which will demystify the negative perceptions and dented image in varied source markets.
From Harare to Masvingo, Bulawayo, Hwange and Victoria Falls, the media will be treated to Zimbabwe’s tourism experiences and interactions, which will be essential as they seek to appreciate the socio-economic and political transformation the country is going through and opportunities that the new Zimbabwe has on offer to the locals, diasporans and the global fraternity.
Rwanda Air has partnered with destination Zimbabwe in bringing the journalists