By Tatenda Mujeyi
Over 300 tourists are expected to arrive in Zimbabwe today Thursday 16 May 2019 as part of a Tourist ‘mega-deal’ understanding between the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and Touch Road of China.
The tourism mega-deal is part of a memorandum of understanding signed between ZTA and Touch Road of China that was signed during the first official visit to China last year.
“This grand initiative was birthed on the 6th of April 2018 when my Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and Touchroad International Holdings Group entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to facilitate investment and tourism facilitation between Zimbabwe and China,” the Minister of Tourism Hon Priscah Mupfumira said at a press briefing held in Harare yesterday.
The tourists come from one of the wealthiest province in China, Zhejiang , constituting 10 % of China’s GDP, with a turnover in excess of 800 billion dollars.
The understanding signed in April 2018 has been successful in promotion of the Marketing of Zimbabwe as a safe Tourist destination and a potential investment haven.
“The visit to Zimbabwe by a business delegation from Zhejiang province was led by Mr Che Jun the secretary of Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China in June 2018.,” the minister said.
The visit is a 10-day, three nation tour that has seen the delegation travelling from Djibouti, Tanzania where they will charter an Ethiopian Airways flight to Zimbabwe landing Thursday (today) this afternoon.
With the Zimbabwean Minister of tourism having been honoured as the Tourism Minister of the year there is need for the Zimbabwean people to contribute to the marketing of the country positively.
“With our minister having been named African Tourism Minister of year and Zimbabwe having been named among the three top must visit destinations, alongside Singapore and Sri Lanka . There is need for the general populace to be welcoming and receptive to this delegation,” ZTA acting CEO Rita Likukuma said at the event.
The visit signifies the success Zimbabwe is realising following its plan to engage the East in the marketing of Zimbabwe as a safe destination.
“We are here talking of a successful effort in terms of developing relations with the far East as a potential tourism market for Zimbabwe. After engaging Touch Roads International on this project and having gone through the China Ready training last month we can confirm the success in China but realise we still have to tap the Indian market,” Likukuma added.
The cooperation with Touchroad has covered gaps in success of marketing Zimbabwe as a tourist destination for the Chinese population.
“We are happy to note that the cooperation with Touchroad International Holdings Group has contributed to the growth of our tourism arrivals. There has been a great increase from a modest 14 407 arrivals in 2017 to 19 482 in 2018,” Hon Mupfumira said.
The project is part of a five-year tourism marketing plan between ZTA, and Touchroad International Holdings Group that aims at improving Zimbabwean tourist arrivals.
“We are extremely excited by the potential to attract over 10 000 visitors from Tour Africa. The New Horizon tourism project will run for the next five years with the support of Touch had and the Government of the People’s Republic of China,” the Minister added.
The delegation arrives today and will tour Great Zimbabwe, Victoria falls the National Heroes Acre and there will be a business forum.