By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) and the Civil Service Travel Bureau (CSTB) have signed a memorandum of understanding that we see the two the organisations promoting domestic tourism in the country.
The partnership comes at a time when Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry is pushing domestic tourism strategy under the 100 days action plan announced by Minister Prisca Mupfumira.
Domestic tourism is said to have a direct bearing on the choice of destinations of international tourists as they normally follow where locals are going and also on the attractiveness of certain centres which are generally regarded as less attractive.
Addressing the media and delegates during the signing ceremony, ZTA chief operations Officer Givemore Chidzidzi said the partnership will go a long way in promoting domestic tourism.
“We are going into a long-term partnership which comes out of the desire to promote our domestic tourism and you all recall that the minister launched the Domestic Tourism Campaign as part of her 100 days program following the coming in of the new dispensation and we as the implementing agency (ZTA) have been pushing that agenda and domestic tourism is one of the various projects which she has.
“We need to also underline that the importance of Domestic tourism has for a long time gone unnoticed although it has the potential to contribute the economy even more than international tourists.
“…we cannot expect international visitors to out-number local. When you go to sports you know what you call home-ground advantage so the domestic tourists have got that advantage everything is around the corner for them…in countries like ours domestic visitors ought to play a bigger role and the frontier for domestic tourism has been growing and also its contribution to our tourism,” he said.
Chidzidzi added that domestic tourism in Zimbabwe has largely been premised on business travel and “we would like to see this change from just business travel and conferencing to leisure travel, you see a lot of us would have travelled to various parts of the country but mainly because there was a workshop or conference organised.
“And as we are talking civil service you would realise a lot our civil servants only leave their base stations when going for workshops and conferences or something that is business related and that is what we want to see changes that we go beyond just business travel.
“So it is out of this reason that ZTA and CSTB are forging a long-term partnership to jointly promote domestic tourism in Zimbabwe and the partnership is being formalised today through an MOU,” he said.
The ZTA chief operations officer said the strategic partnership with CSTB will proffer travel solution to Zimbabweans, government institutions, NGOs and the private sector.
He said the significant thrust will be towards promoting destination to the local market whose success will have a ripple effect on regional and internal markets.
“We want to inculcate a culture of travel within the locals I think gone are the days when people would view travel as a luxury, it is indeed a necessity and it is widely believed that after working for so long one has to take a break and go and regenerate energy recuperate, that is the reason why we get vacation leave.
“We believe this partnership will go a long way in fostering domestic tourism and we are therefore urging all Zimbabweans to take advantage of this initiative and to have an opportunity to travel within Zimbabwe in their lifetime.
Speaking at the same occasion CSTB managing director Isaac Muchokomori said they are excited to enter into a partnership with ZTA which will enable the promotion of the country’s tourist destinations.
“We are proud today to be associated with ZTA and let me emphasis that we are the only state owned travel logistics concern in Zimbabwe owned through Courier Connect which is a subsidiary of ZimPost wholly owned by the government.
“…at this moment we are very excited to enter into this joint with ZTA, which will enable us to beam the local travel and tourism destinations suitable for religious, medical, educational, business, cultural, social and so many other groups that may want and wish to visit various destinations.
“We offer a one-stop travel shop in terms provision of travel solutions to government departments, parastatals, NGOs, Corporates, informal traders and the public at large,” he said.
Muchokomori added that “we are not for the civil servants alone it’s for everybody, we have a large range of services on offers that include air ticketing, visa facilitation, hotel reservation, shuttle services, holiday packages, car and bus hire.
“As CSTB we recognise the needed for collaborative marketing, financial, technical and logical efforts as the only way to access local, regional and international travel markets,” he said.