By Patricia Mashiri
The Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality industry continues with Consultative Conferences for Tourism Sector Strategy on how to improve the sector in Zimbabwe as a global economic game changer.
Speaking at a stakeholder consultative meeting in Chinhoyi, Webster Shamu, the Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs said tourism is crucial for economic growth of the country and the government is working tirelessly towards the growth of the tourism sector.
“Tourism continues to drive towards becoming a global economic game changer. With that in mind, the Government is harnessing all its efforts towards the creation of a robust tourism industry that is poised for growth and community development.
“The Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry should also strive to create tourism value chain linkages to capture the economic value from the grassroots, and spread the tourism dividend to all sectors of the economy and communities,”Shamu said.
The Minister advised the accommodation sector to seriously consider the domestic tourism market and not only be glued on international tourist arrivals, as it presents opportunities for economic growth and sustainability of the tourism sector.
Sophie Zirebwa,the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Director for Market Research and Product Development said they are seeking to increase and improve performance of tourism to take the lead from and improve from the current Position 3 in Africa.
The current domestic and outbound tourism survey results by the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry shows that there is limited knowledge of the available local products. There is need to raise awareness to the local people about the tourism products so that domestic tourism grows.
The general survey shows tourism in the past years has not been inclusive. It has been noted that people with disabilities should be included and enjoy the same facilities as others.
Women and youths are under-represented in tourism. There is lack of decision making in the sector by women because of the current economic situation in the country.
There are calls for fair treatment and access to tourism resources by women and youths since they have potential to help in the sector’s growth and development.