Prince Sunduzani, Business Reporter
TOURISM players in Bulawayo should aggressively market their activities and expand their visibility in order to attract tourists and increase their earnings.
Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Martin Moyo, said this during a plenary session on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ consultative workshop on the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
He told the gathering that some facilities in Bulawayo were not known, hence tourists were shying away from the heritage-rich city.
“We have the hotels here in Bulawayo but when those tourists wake up what do they do? I think it’s important that we make a proper package of activities so that we keep them occupied. I’m saying this because I was challenged by the Russian billionaire who said ‘Mayor, keep me busy in Bulawayo for two hours, but I didn’t know where to go,” said Clr Moyo
“What are the activities, they could be there but they are not properly marketed and people don’t know about them. So there is a need for us as tourism players to properly market these activities so that people get to know about them. This will grow tourism in Bulawayo and make sure that we are visible and known.”
The meeting, which is part of a series of similar events to be held countrywide, is meant to get input from sector stakeholders in a bid to map out a strategy for marketing the Zimbabwe brand through tourism.
Speaking at the same event, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Dr Thokozile Chitepo called for the broadening of the tourism industry beyond leisure.
She said the new strategy should also include religious, medical, cultural and investment tourism in order to attract a diverse range of tourists.
At the moment, the country does not have a tourism sector strategy that sets concrete targets and provides a clear road map for guiding the tourism industry.
The development of the NTSS is expected to help the sector unlock its potential for growth by identifying key strategies that can be used to boost the tourism sector’s contribution to the national economy.
Tourism and hospitality industry players have welcomed the development, expressing that the process was long overdue and necessary for the growth of the country’s tourism. This also comes at a time when the country has received good publicity following the ascension of President Mnangagwa as the country’s leader.
This is expected to create a boom in the industry as prospective investors come into the country to scout for opportunities.