THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has partnered the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to market its safari steam trains and museum to international tourism markets during this week’s Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo.
The tourism expo will be held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo. NRZ public relations manager, Mr Nyasha Maravanyika, said as part of their agreement with the ZTA, this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani high profile welcome reception for buyers and the media will be held at the railways firm’s museum at Raylton on Thursday.
“Guests will be taken to the museum from the Bulawayo Station by a steam train. NRZ, through its Rail Leisure unit, runs steam excursions, which promote domestic and international tourism while it also operates a museum chronicling the history of the railways since the arrival of the first train in Bulawayo in 1897,” he said.
Safari steam trains and the museum are popular tourist attractions and have been mainly patronised by locals, with schoolchildren making the bulk of visitors.
“The partnership with ZTA will open the NRZ tourism products to new international markets especially from Asia as buyers and international journalists from that continent will have first-hand experience of riding on a steam train and the displays at the museum.
“The presence of international buyers and journalists will give an international profile to the NRZ safari steam trains and the museum,” said Mr Maravanyika.
The NRZ museum was opened in 1972 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first train in Bulawayo. It houses historic milestones in the development of the railways in Africa and Zimbabwe respectively.
The facility has an impressive collection of steam and diesel locomotives, construction and recovery equipment, Rhodes’ coach as well as a collection of photos. Rail Leisure Steam Safaris operates vintage steam locomotives, which are popular with steam enthusiasts.