By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke has said Zimbabwe is going to use the Africa Travel Indaba to regain lost market in South Africa.
Travel Indaba which will run from 8-10 May this year, is Africa’s largest tourism show that sees the continent showcasing its’ wide variety of tourism products.
The show, to which Zimbabwe has been a consistent participant in the past 30 years, also attracts international buyers and media from across the globe and provides a business and policy platform forum for African Tourism Ministers each year.
This year the country will participate with a record of 32 tourism operators on its national stand as a way of reflecting that indeed Zimbabwe is open and ready for business.
In a statement, Dr Kaseke said he is delighted by the enthusiasm shown by the local operators.
“We have over the years lost substantial amounts of business from the South African market. We must take remedial action without further delay, we need to act swiftly.
“We are going to South Africa to regain the market share we lost. The level of participation of the tourism players from Zimbabwe is very encouraging and I know Zimbabwe is going to make a huge impact at Africa’s Travel Indaba this year.
“I am very happy that the smaller operators are now also seeing that marketing their products at these big travel shows will assist their businesses to grow,” he said.
South Africa is the largest tourist source market for Zimbabwe, contributing 30% of total arrivals in 2017.
In 2010 arrivals from South Africa reached about 1.368 million from 912 244 in 2009 but have declined to 716 234 arrivals in 2017.
Zimbabwe is expected to hold the Visit Zimbabwe roadshow on the sidelines of Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban and according to Dr Kaseke, a lot of work is needed to help increase the number of arrivals from the neighbouring country.
“The decline of arrivals from South Africa which is the country’s major market is of great concern and calling for urgent attention.
“This has therefore seen the need for embarking on Visit Zimbabwe campaign in South Africa,” he said
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira will be leading the Zimbabwean delegation to show government’s commitment to promoting tourism.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa last year promised to adequately fund the tourism sector so that it is able to market the country’s products at various regional, continental and global tourism showcases.
Zimbabwe has been failing to attract more arrivals from such countries as China owing to lack of marketing and presents a situation which has been attributed to poor funding.
According to ZTA, various Zimbabwean tourism operators have expressed optimism that travel into Zimbabwe will increase as the government reengages most of the markets who were shunning Zimbabwe for the past decade.
Meanwhile, a number of Zimbabwean tour operators have also secured their own exhibition stands at Indaba a move which is expected among other things to enhance Zimbabwe’s participation.
The country’s tourism authority added that Zimbabwe will continue to participate at such international travel shows in order to create awareness and build confidence about the destination under the new government.-