Locadia Mavhudzi, Midlands Correspondent
PLAYERS in the tourism sector say the new political dispensation has set the tourism industry on a growth trajectory as witnessed by the increased tourist arrivals in the country since the beginning of the year.
Addressing delegates who attended the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) winter school in Gweru, association president, Mr Innocent Manyera, said the ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ mantra championed by President Mnangagwa has ignited a lot of zeal for the international community to explore economic opportunities in the country.
“This is a new dispensation where we have to do away with the old ways of thinking. It is now time where there is a need for more than just embedding business ethics and good corporate governance into our business strategies to improve our profits. Creating a reputation for destination Zimbabwe and a good public image for our industry requires executors not spectators,” said Mr Manyera.
He said the hospitality sector has a lot of opportunities that would assist the country to improve its services to meet international standards.
“We are coming from a decade of stagnation and now moving towards business productivity. We are now able to invest our profits back into our businesses,” he added.
Mr Manyera said the idea of a tourism winter school was mooted in 2016 to equip players in the industry with the latest business trends and create an opportunity for tourism operators to learn from each other’s experiences.
“This is our third winter school and has been highly subscribed by players in the industry. Besides it has been supported by our mother body, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority,” he said.
HAZ has commended the hospitality sector grading and benchmarking exercise being run by the tourism ministry as a tool for branding the country’s hospitality services.
“The blitz was targeting all players who needed to be registered and receive an operator’s licence and a grading certificate. This is a statutory requirement. The statistics of hospitality players across the country are relevant for planning purposes. Unregistered players have often compromised standards and hence tarnish the image of the brand Zimbabwe,” he said.
The two day winter school drew participants from various hospitality service providers across the country and ran under the theme “business ethics and corporate governance in the hospitality industry from lip service to execution”.