THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has blamed poor infrastructure for the decline in tourist arrivals in the country.
BY ALEXIS SIBANDA
Speaking at the second stakeholder consultative workshop on the national tourism sector strategy (NTSS) in Bulawayo on Monday, ZTA chief operating officer Givemore Chidzidzi said the country’s tourist services were generally poor as compared to other international tourist destinations.
He urged operators to change their approach to service provision to stimulate development in the sector.
“Taking a survey from 136 countries, Zimbabwe has been recorded as number 106 in the tourist services infrastructure because of broken handles, dilapidated kitchens and furniture and an improvement is needed,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Angeline Masuku said: “It may look like Bulawayo has nothing, but Bulawayo has a lot in terms of tourist attractions. Only maximum support will enable the people to see the wonders in Bulawayo.
“I am reliably informed that currently the tourism sector here in Zimbabwe does not have a NTSS, hence, the development of such a strategy is very important and very critical if the tourism sector is to unlock its full potential and contribute meaningfully towards national economic revival, growth and development of the county.”
She urged the Tourism ministry to come up with a number of festivals that promote the culture and heritage of the people of Bulawayo as a way of reviving tourism in the region.
“The Intwasa Arts Festival needs to be promoted as a platform for locals to play their local music and enhance national and international interest tourism. This will definitely enhance the residence side and promote the preservation and cultivation of local culture which will revive tourism sector in Bulawayo,” Masuku said.
“Other meetings, events and activities that are held annually here in Bulawayo such as the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, which is around the corner should also revive the tourism sector.”
She said Bulawayo should market its unique tourist attractions such as the National Museum, Old Bulawayo and Matopos.
Masuku urged the Tourism ministry work with urban and rural people in Matabeleland to unlock Bulawayo’s potential.