By Stephen Ephraem
Zimbabwe tourism player are in a drive to revive domestic tourism. This came out during Tourism Stakeholders Interface Webinar that was held by the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) on 25 July 2020 in Harare.
The interface was held to strategise the ways in which the country can revive domestic tourism in line with goverment’s post COVID-19 Tourism Growth and Recovery Strategy.
Speaking on the sidelines of the web meeting, ZTA Domestic Tourism and Strategic Research Director, Sophie Zirebwa said that the country’s Tourism Board is delighted and encouraged by efforts being made by the tourism sector to develop and increase the prospects of domestic tourism in the country.
“We are very thankful to have been part of the webinar organized by the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe. To us this is a positive development, seeing the industry is eager to work with the Tourism Board in developing the domestic tourism. In particular, the much needed business improvement in the leisure side of domestic tourism,” she said.
“There were quite candid discussions in the meeting with operators. They interrogated their business models and critical issues emerged on the pricing of tourism products and services. The lack of domestic tourism packages and the general lack of information about what is available, i.e the tourism attractions, activities that can be accessed by locals,” added Zirebwa.
The ZTA official indicated that the tourism authority is happy to observe that within the discussions, the tourism industry players were really proposing solutions and giving timelines to solve challenges raised.
“One of the proposals that came up was for players to cooperate and collaborate in terms of creating packages which are price sensitive for the local market. Another issue that also came through and important was the need for operators to come together and roll out an awareness campaign as they promote domestic tourism,” she added.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe president, Clive Chinwada said that the meeting resolved that there was an immediate need to come up with a bundle of tourism value chain activities including transport, accommodation and activities in various destinations replicating what used to be the Flame Lily tours.
“These packages must suit every pocket and encourage tourism industry value chain players to work together for survival as well as to ensure the competitiveness of destination Zimbabwe,” he said.
Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe president, Winnie Muchanyuka encouraged the sector to improve on collaboration.
“We have been fragmented, we need to collaborate more. We need to continue working together as stakeholders in the sector. To be honest, ZTA has done it’s best to lead with messaging but we as players have been lagging behind on complimenting their efforts,” she said.
The Tourism Stakeholders Interface Webinar comes on the heels of a ZTA organized Service Excellence Training Webinar which is also a part of the preparations towards reviving the country’s domestic tourism. Preparations to launch the Tourism Growth and Recovery Strategy are currently underway.