By Spiwe Dhliwayo
Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Djibouti and China have intensified efforts to concretise the Tour Africa-The New Horizon tourism program as the four countries launched the program in Zheijang Province, China.
The program is being championed by a Chinese company Touchroad International and will see Zimbabwe receiving 350 Chinese tourists every month from this month end.
Touchroad working in conjuction with the Zheijang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and the Zheijang Radio and TV group announced the “Tour Africa- the New Horizon” tourism project which will see a chartered flight with over 300 tourists, leading travel agencies and media houses visiting Destination Zimbabwe.
The launch highlights a yield of tangible results from the strategic comprehensive partnership emanating from the MOU signed between the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and Touchroad International Holdings Group in China during His Excellency, Cde ED Mnangagwa’s inaugural state visit in May 2018. It is an exciting moment born out of the power of tourism development within a few months of cooperation.
Mr Chu. Ziyu Director General of Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism highlighted that the Tour Africa – New Horizon tourism project will extend for the next five years and will see over 10 000 tourists from Zheijang Province visiting Zimbabwe. He applauded Zimbabwe for easing the visa process for the Chinese and that challenges on direct flights to the destination will soon be an issue of the past.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s Executive Director for International Marketing, Jeffrey’s Manjengwa said, “Last year Zimbabwe received 11 439 Chinese tourists which is way too little as compared to other African countries such as Tanzania which received 20 000 Chinese in 2016 and more than 34 000 in 2018 respectively. With such strategic partnerships this project will see the increase of tourism arrivals from China to Zimbabwe doubling in the near future”, he said.
Head of the coordinating team and Chairman of Touchroad international Holdings Group, Mr He Liehui expressed his passion in linking China to the beauty of Africa in particular Zimbabwe. “I am happy that we are moving ahead with this project. I have spent a great amount of time in Africa and I would like to see my fellow Chinese people explore the beautiful continent of Africa. Tanzania, Djibouti and Zimbabwe are amazing destinations that offer phenomenal tourism activities. We are very grateful to the Zheijang Province for supporting this initiative “ he said.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Hon. Priscah Mupfumira expressed gratitude for the unity demonstrated by Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China through this great tourism initiative. Special gratitude was extended to recently appointed Tourism Ambassador for Zimbabwe to the People’s Republic of China and President of Touchroad, Mr He Liehui and the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism for the excellent work in making this initiative a success. Minister Mupfumira confirmed the commitment by the government of Zimbabwe in taking these new tourism initiatives to grow the tourism market and investments from China.
A considerable number of African countries are now showing interest in this great project which has however started with a package tour of Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Djibouti. Zhejiang Province has a population of approximately 58 million with 2.7 million people traveling out of China for holiday.