Zimbabwe gears up for ITB Berlin 2018

Staff Writer

The Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry (MOTHI) together with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) will lead the tourism industry to promote Zimbabwe at the leading world tourism fair, International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Berlin slotted for 07 – 11 March 2018. This year marks the country’s 36th participation at this show, which is the world’s largest tourism fair.

Zimbabwe’s participation at the renowned Berlin tourism showcase, this year will be supported by a robust entourage of more than 23 local tourism industry players who are keen to reposition Zimbabwe as the foremost and must visit tourism destination in Southern Africa. The sector is poised for growth following the positive developments in the destination given the new dispensation and the presidium assuring the World that Zimbabwe is open for business.

Since the inauguration of the new Government, the tourism industry has embarked on tourism recovery strategies with the aim of regaining the lost market share in varied source markets. The mission that started early January has seen the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Prisca Mupfumira re-engaging the international investors, travel trade, media and the diplomatic community with a view of presenting the rebirth of Zimbabwe and the vision for a brilliant economy characterized by transparency and progressive ease of doing business.

Speaking on the scheduled ITB Berlin mission, the ZTA Chief Executive, Dr Karikoga Kaseke reiterated the need for Zimbabwe to take advantage of the foundation laid by the new Government to aggressively push destination Zimbabwe in source markets.

“With the positive developments experienced in the country of late, there has never been an opportune time for Zimbabwe to aggressively reposition itself than this. It is encouraging to note the international goodwill and the rejuvenated interest in the markets. The tourism industry is seized for the market recovery plan to regain the lost market share particularly in traditional source markets,” he said.

He further reiterated the need for a paradigm shift by the tourism sector enablers in order to effectively implement the sector recovery strategy as Zimbabwe seeks to reclaim its glory of yesteryears.   

“Zimbabwe used to receive + more than 30% of its tourist traffic from the overseas market in the 90s when tourism was at its peak and this contribution have since dropped to less than 15% of the arrivals into Zimbabwe. This in its own gives the impetus to aggressively push for the recovery agenda in respective markets particularly Europe which has always been a key tourism source market for Zimbabwe. Arrivals from Germany on its own have declined dismally from more than 70 000 in 1999 to 37 304 arrivals in 2017 while the United Kingdom dropped from 189 436 to 73 552 ,” Dr. Kaseke added. 

Germany is ranked as the 2nd highest generator of arrivals from Europe into Zimbabwe after the United Kingdom, contributing 37 304 arrivals recorded in year 2017, a 29% increase from the 28 929 arrivals attained in 2016. This momentum and trajectory can only be sustained by Zimbabwe’s participation at ITB Berlin and other related International travel fairs as well as investment in other market recovery strategies such as intensified market representation, trade development, media relations, destination campaigns, advertising, events marketing and digital marketing.

The ITB is the world’s largest travel show and remains the leading global meeting place attracting the participation of more than 185 countries, 900 qualified top buyers, 10 000 exhibitors, 23 000 convention visitors and more than 165 000 private and public visitors which makes it a significant platform for Zimbabwe to advance its presence. The platform is a must-attend event for every tourism destination striving for success as it provides for a serious business platform for exchanges with top decision-makers, experts, buyers and young professionals in the tourism business.

Among the participating players are Sikiliza Adventures, Rainbow Tourism Group, Cresta Hospitality, Africa Travel Tours, Camp Hwange & Kazuma Trails, Exclusive Touch Africa, Wild Horizons, Southern Africa Tours Services (SATS), Legacy Hotels and Resorts, Wilderness Safaris, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, Dunhuramambo, African Sun Hotels, Vayeni, Silwane Tours and Safaris , Off2 Africa, Vic Falls Hotel, Musangano Lodge, Zimbabwe Parks Management and Wildlife Authority, Jibha Safaris and Skylark Tours.