Business Tourism

Tourism month: Ministry pushes sector awareness

Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu

The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry is pushing awareness of the tourism month and is advising the Nation that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) member states celebrate World Tourism Day annually on the 27th of September.

This day was set aside by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to foster awareness amongst the international community on the socio-economic benefits derived from the Travel and Tourism Sector, together with its entire value chains.

Spiked Online Media gives an overview of the sector as provided by the ministry.

In view of the above, the Ministry has declared the month of September as Tourism Month to create greater awareness of the critical role the tourism sector has on the socio-economic development of the Nation. The World Tourism Day celebrations are hosted by Provinces on a rotational basis. By targeting different Provinces each year, the Ministry’s aim is to comply with the principle of leaving no place and no one behind in terms of tourism development and equitable distribution of tourism benefits to local communities as enshrined in the National Development Strategy (NDS1).

Globally, the performance of the Travel and Tourism Sector was seriously affected by the Covid-19 pandemic during the past two years. The net result was a sharp decline in tourist arrivals and receipts were witnessed resulting in high disinvestments and job losses. On a more positive note, it is encouraging to note that most countries are now on the recovery path. The latest UNWTO global statistics reveal that international tourism registered a strong rebound in the first five months of 2022, with almost 250 million international arrivals recorded. This is compared to the 77 million arrivals recorded from January to May 2021.

A growth trajectory has also been witnessed in Zimbabwe following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions and the vaccination drive which crowned Zimbabwe a safe travel destination. The rebound of international inbound tourism and the general increase in domestic tourism activities also increased the performance of the sector.

During the first half of 2022, the Tourism Sector registered a 115% rise in tourist arrivals to 352,719, compared with the same period in 2021 when the international arrivals received were 164,062. The tourist receipts also increased by 121% in 2022 to US$337.5 million compared to US$152.8 million in 2021. Domestic entries into national parks rose by 90% from 90,909 in 2021 to 172,481 during the period January to May 2022. A 79% increase in new investments was also registered this year with a total of US$96.5 million recorded.

During the past 12 months cycle which was running under the Theme Inclusive Tourism, a number of milestones were achieved in the Tourism Sector including, among others:-

  • The launch of the first-ever Tourism Satellite Account was developed following the UNWTO framework and guidelines.
  • The launch of the Braille Inclusive Tourism, a new Tourism Product giving persons with visual impairment a chance to experience tourism products and services.
  • The launch of the 2022 National Cookout Competitions and the Cook Book with a variety of traditional cuisine recipes.
  • Successful participation at the 2020 Dubai Expo.
  • Enhanced destination accessibility where airlines introduced new air routes to Zimbabwe. These included Airlink, Eurowings, RwandAir, Emirates, and Ethiopian, among others.
  • Post Covid-19 Impact Assessment, to determine the impact of the pandemic to the Tourism Sector, with results expected before year-end.
  • Hosted the Zimbabwe Tourism Innovation Challenge across the country. The concept aims at promoting and supporting ideas of young innovators with the potential to transform Zimbabwe’s Tourism Sector, as well as involving youths in mainstream tourism.
  • Rendered support for Community Based Tourism Enterprises through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

 

The Theme for this year’s World Tourism Day celebrations is “Rethinking Tourism”, presenting the Tourism Sector with an opportunity to rethink ways to run or revamp their businesses after the devastating effects of Covid-19.

“Unpacking the Theme according to the UNWTO, we are encouraged to put people and planet first and bring everyone from public-private sectors and local communities together around a shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient tourism sector.” Strong emphasis is on exploring new innovative ways of reviving, growing, and developing tourism sustainably.

“Accordingly, the Ministry has lined up programmes and activities in line with the Theme during Tourism Month. A Tourism Symposium will be held on the 15th of September 2022 at Midlands State University, in Gweru. This presents an opportunity for the tourism industry think tanks, researchers, scholars, and experts to present different topics which are in line with the theme. This will be followed by a Junior Parliament Debate scheduled for the 22nd of September 2022. This is a platform to hear and share new innovative ideas from the young leaders on improving the performance of the Tourism Sector and the outcomes of the discussion will guide tourism policy formulation,” said Hon Mangaliso Ndlovu, the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.

He added that the Ministry is also organising a soccer match for junior players under the age of 18 years. Prominent soccer legends and Football Clubs will be invited to the event, creating the basis for nurturing youngsters in the field of soccer. The match will be held in Harare on the 24th of September 2022.

“A series of media interviews will be held with players in the Tourism Sector to air their views and plans for the next 12 months guided by this year’s theme “Rethinking Tourism”, and this will take place on the 27th of September 2022. The main World Tourism Day celebrations will be held in Masvingo on the 30 of September 2022 marking the end of the Tourism Month.

“In view of the above, I would like to extend a warm invitation to the people of Zimbabwe to join us as we roll out our programmes activities during Tourism Month up to the World Tourism Day main celebrations, ” he added.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende