Officially opening the 4th edition of the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair in the capital, the Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Arthur Mutambara emphasised the need for close cooperation among regional tourism stakeholders in line with the regional integration drive.
“We must think about cross selling for the regional product. Africa controls 2% of world tourism and we are not going to increase that number even to 4% if we concentrate on national tourism brands, national tourism initiatives. RETOSA is important, COMESA as a tourism destination is important,” said Professor Mutambara.
Professor Mutambara, who expressed confidence of a positive outcome from the on-going World Tourism Organization (WTO) meeting in South Korea meant to decide the host of the UNWTO 28th General Assembly, said the government is in the process of setting up a Tourism Facilitation Centre responsible for creating an enabling environment for players in the industry.
“We are putting together a national tourism facilitation team to ensure that the key enablers of tourism are put in place,” Professor Mutambara added.
This yearâ€™s edition of the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel Expo has seen an overwhelming response in terms participants as 246 exhibitors are showcasing their products and services at the fair.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Board Chairperson, Mrs Marah Hativagone expressed satisfaction at the work being done to improve the countryâ€™s brand and challenged the government to deal with challenges facing key enablers such as the national airline.
“All we need to do is to make sure that all the enablers are in place, especially the national airline because it is key to bringing people here,” she said.
The 4th edition of the Sanganai-Hlanganani Travel Expo, which is running under the theme â€˜Promoting Peace through Tourism,â€™ comes at a time the local tourism industry has registered significant improvement in terms of tourism receipts as well as room occupancy which rose from 32% in 2010 to the current 38%.
It is against this background that stakeholders in the industry are optimistic of meeting the set 15% contribution to GDP target.