Co-operation crucial to tourism growth


THE country’s tourism industry has always been described as a low hanging fruit with the potential to massively boost economic growth.
Recently, the countrys town publicity associations and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) met in the capital to find ways to grow the country’s tourism industry.
The new political dispensation has renewed the energies of various industries which are eager to contribute to the new economic trajectory.
The empowerment policies have seen blacks venturing into the previously white-dominated industry.
And lately, efforts have been made to increase participation of youths and women in the sector.
Undoubtedly, the sector is among the highest performing sectors in the country.
Government has also set up a US$200 million revolving fund to improve operations.
According to former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “When tourism is well-managed, it has tremendous capacity to create decent jobs, provide opportunities for inclusion and education and contribute to preserving cultural heritage and the environment.”
Speaking during the workshop, ZTA executive director domestic tourism and strategic research Sophie Zirebwa said the authority was ready to assist players get to the next level in the industry.
“This workshop goes beyond the 100 days because tourism is bigger than 100 days. It has given the opportunity for publicity associations to learn from each other how to involve the youth and working with prominent people,” said Zirebwa.
“The publicity associations are the ones on the ground and we, as ZTA, need to work with them to agree on what to do to get work done. This is because some of these were formed as early as 1932 and ZTA was only formed in 1999. This is the reason we need to complement each other and not compete.
“This workshop helps us streamline our activities and not fight each other because ZTA has the muscle to do what some publicity associations may not be able to do.”
Fadzai Makaya from the Manicaland Publicity Association said the workhop had given them the opportunity to reposition themselves.
“This workshop has given us a chance to reposition ourselves and map a way forward on how to re-establish our relationship with the ZTA. Manicaland boasts Mutarazi Falls which is the longest in Africa, the skywalk which is a first in Zimbabwe and the Inyanga Muntains which are the highest in the country,” said Makaya.
Jane High of the Chimanimani Tourism Association said it is important to involve the youth in tourism programmes as they are the future.
“We have based our programmes on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and made sure our environment remains intact. We encourage the youths to take part in our tourism programmes and to go out and be our ambassadors because when something bad happens in one part of the country, it affects us badly as well,” said High.
“We would like the ZTA to allow us to drive the agenda and support our initiatives because the politics of the past had divided us. But now there is a huge change and we need to embrace it.”
Chair and founder of the Zvishavane Publicity Association Rejoice Chishamba said the workshop had enabled them to share best practices.
“This workshop has been a brilliant idea in that it has been a platform to share ideas, especially for us the new comers. From here on, we, as an association, will go and engage mining companies such as MIMOSA Mining company, Murowa diamonds and Sabi Gold Mines to create synergies on promoting industrial tourism because all we need each other,” said Chishamba.
At least 60 percent of youths currently work in the tourism sector.
Tourism is expected to accelerate the development of communities and promote entrepreneurship.
Calls have also been made to enhance co-operation and co-ordination between governments, regional and international organisations, the private sector and civil society, especially in tapping the potential of women and youths in tourism.
One of the fastest growing and most dynamic spheres of the global economy, tourism is not only ideally poised to ensure prosperity, but also to promote women’s empowerment, gender equality, youth employment and children’s rights.
The tourism industry stands to profit from the active and equitable participation of women and youth.


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