Natasha Chamba, Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says promoting domestic tourism is a key component of enhancing national brand awareness and increasing the sector’s contribution to the economy.
ZTA acting chief executive officer, Mrs Rita Likukuma, said Zimbabweans can be better brand ambassadors of the country when they visit other foreign nations.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Marketers’ Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) underway in Bulawayo, Mrs Likukuma said while the country recently won an award for the most sustainable tourist destination at the International Tourism Bourse in Germany and was voted as the third must-visit destination after Sri Lanka and Germany, it was important for domestic tourism to grow in the country.
“We are currently on a path of creating a positive Zimbabwean brand but this cannot be done if locals do not know their country well.
“Our children barely know what Zimbabwe is like. When they go outside the country and foreigners ask about Zimbabwe, they do not have knowledge about where they come from and this has to change,” she said.
Mrs Likukuma said domestic travel should also take centre stage in reviving the economy and linking various businesses.
“We are not saying domestic tourism should only be for those who later travel to other nations but it should be undertaken to boost the economy, when people travel they tend to spend on various business sectors and this in return grows the economy,” she said.
Mrs Likukuma said the tourism and hospitality industry should offer competitive prices and value for money so that Zimbabweans can easily “holiday at home”.
“Tourism is a critical sector in terms of its contribution to the key economic aggregates including national output, employment creation and generation of the much needed foreign currency hence the need for strategies to improve its performance,” she said.
Meanwhile, international holiday rental search engine, HomeToGo, named Zimbabwe among the top 10 trending destinations for United Kingdom-based tourists and National Geographic also acknowledged the country as one of the prime tourist destinations in the world. — @queentauruszw.