The Zimbabwe travel and tourism industry remain bullish about 2018 in spite of figures suggesting a dramatic drop in demand from the German market, it has been learnt.
By Wisdom Mdzungairi in BERLIN
This came as major tourism players in the country stepped up marketing of the natural attractions in the country to tempt more tourists away from the crowded Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke said strategy was intended to lengthen the existing tourist season.
“Victoria Falls is our cash cow, but we are also focusing on other areas and we are kin to position some of the attractions as sustainable and cultural destinations, even though the vast majority of our visitors stay in the Victoria Falls,” Kaseke said.
Kaseke said the strategy aimed to build on its strong recovery following the inauguration of axed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in November last year, by attracting more visitors through a better marketing strategy.
Tourism minister Priscah Mupfumira told guests at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB Berlin) here that government has made great strides in addressing priority areas in the tourism and travel industry.
“We have made strides in addressing some of the major barriers that were affecting the growth of tourism in Zimbabwe.
“One such critical issue was the numerous roadblocks that had become a menace not only to our visitors but to the domestic market alike. I am not saying this to console you but to point out the extent to which it had become very unbearable and difficult for locals to travel around the country,” Mupfumira said.
“I am happy to announce that this has since become a thing of the past and as nationals we are back to enjoying the drives around Zimbabwe and we are here to invite you to come and enjoy the drives once again.”
The new face in charge of the Zimbabwean tourism hailed the dramatic improvement in fortunes.
She however indicated that there was an issue of road infrastructure, which government had prioritised and major roads were receiving urgent and priority attention.
Zimbabwe was also seized with ease of facilitation at border posts and liberalisation of the visa regime.
Government recently upgraded 29 countries from category C to Category B pushing the total number of countries now to more than 133 countries whose nationals can attain visas at the port of entry.
Mupfumira said to support the sustenance of the tourism industry, government has committed to offering tourism investment incentives such as duty exemptions and rebates on capital goods for tourism development zones and the tourism fund.