By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke has said the United Kingdom is an important tourism market that the country cannot afford to ignore.
The UK was a significant contributor of tourist arrivals to the country before the country embarked on the land reform exercise which resulted in numbers retreating majestically.
Tourism has been dubbed as the low hanging fruit for the government in its effort to resuscitate the economy, but to benefit more from it there is need to effectively put resources in marketing exercises.
Speaking on the sidelines of the on-going Experience Africa Tourism Travel Show in the United Kingdom, Dr Kaseke said Zimbabwe is serious about regaining its lost tourism share market.
“We cannot afford to ignore the UK market as I have said because; it’s a very important market for us. In 1999 we received a whopping 189436 arrivals from the UK and Ireland but these figures took a nosedive since 2000 as we began receiving less than 20 000 arrivals from the same market.
“The figures have been encouraging this far as we are witnessing an encouraging 127 per cent increase from 32 475 recorded in 2016 and 73 552 arrivals in 2017.
“We are also a sponsor of this London edition and are proud to be recognised as such as it gives prime recognition and an active player in the UK market,” he said.
Speaking on the same occasion Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the country will continue on this type of tourism market drive in traditional areas
“Our participation at Experience Africa comes barely 3 months after I began my re-engagement tour to the UK and other critical traditional markets.
“This is a sure sign that we are serious about UK market and we will continue on this kind of drive to regain the lost market share,” she said.
Experience Africa Travel Trade Show which is currently underway in London UK is a business to business event matching suppliers and buyers across Africa and the UK.
Local players also attending the expo in London include Shearwater, Africa Albida, Rainbow Tourism Group, Legacy Hotels and Resorts, Amalinda Camp to mention a few.