By Edward Mukaro
THE Government of Zimbabwe has stepped up efforts to boost domestic tourism as Minister of Environment, Climate, Mangaliso Ndlovu officially launched the Zimbho Domestic Tourism Campaign in the resort town of Kariba, a move which confirms the sectors’ eagerness and seriousness in realizing US$5 Billion-dollar Tourism Economy by year 2025.
Domestic tourism, in Zimbabwe and many other countries across the globe, has been identified as an enabler of real growth in the tourism sector, hence Government’s concerted efforts to ignite the sense of belonging and love of the motherland amongst its citizens.
Tourism has also been identified as an enabling sector for economic growth given its multiple beneficial nature, which spurs other economic sectors.
Addressing delegates who thronged the Zimbho Domestic Tourism Campaign, Minister Ndlovu said, “Today, is the first step towards creating demand of our existing tourism products and services through this Domestic Campaign dubbed Zimbho #IzimYami #Vakatsha. This campaign is designed to focus mainly on the domestic market whose contribution to economic growth and development is yet to be fully realised,” said Minister Ndlovu.
The campaign brand, Zimbho, #Vakatsha, #IZimyami is premised on the word Bho, which means good, well or fine.
Contextual, to the tourism sector, Government is simply saying Zimbabwe is beautiful and richly endowed, thus ‘Zim is Bho’.
The Honourable minister added that the main objectives of the Zimbho campaign are meant to create awareness among locals of all attractions within Zimbabwe, develop a culture of travel among Zimbabweans, increase domestic travel, while also increasing the contribution of domestic tourism to the economy.
In a show of commitment, Government has now exempted value-added tax (VAT) on all domestic tourism services.
“To support this campaign, the Government has exempted VAT on all tourism services for domestic tourists in a bid to reduce the prices being charged on tourism products and services.
“Government will continue looking at ways to make tourism affordable to the nationals and experts to see such incentives actually translating to price reductions in the sector for the benefit of the domestic market. In removing the VAT the Government had hoped that there will be a corresponding reduction in the cost of hospitality institutions,” he said.
Zimbabwe is endowed with a lot of beautiful attractions, most of which are top global attraction sites and these include Tugwi Mukosi, Kanyemba, Osborne Dam, Binga and Kariba, among a host of there well-known tourism hot-spots.
Government has opened up areas for tourism development to allow for product innovation and diversification in the form of cultural tourism, recreational areas and resort developments.
In the past decades, the tourism industry has been characterized by low participation of locals in Leisure Tourism. Domestic Business Tourism has been active as it constituted above 80 percent (%) of tourism activity in the country, in all regions except Victoria Falls, which was dominated by foreign tourists.
Before the advent of the novel COVID- 19 pandemic, destinations that were deemed successful the world over were supported heavily by their domestic market, constituting more than 60% of the business.
Almost two months ago, President Mnangagwa launched the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy (NTRGS) and said, “The focus is now inward with domestic tourism set to bring a business drive as part of a journey towards the US$5 billion tourism economy,” said President Mnangagwa, back then.
By Edward Mukaro