Thandeka Matebesi, Sunday Life Reporter
PLAYERS in the tourism and hospitality industry have been urged to make concerted efforts to promote Bulawayo’s tourist attractions as the city makes headway towards fully reaping the immense benefits offered by the travel and tourism sector.
In an interview with Sunday News after a familiarisation tour of the city and surrounding areas’ tourist attractions by various stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry recently, Silwane Tours and Safaris director Mr Sikhawuliso Sibanda said both tour operators and hoteliers have an integral role to play in promoting Bulawayo’s places of interest.
“We engage tourists through various ways that is through hotels, lodges and the media. As tour guides we have the expertise; hotels and lodges have the accommodation so we are working together.
“We want to help each other to fully know our city better, especially when it comes to the tourism side to enable hotels and lodges operators to tell the visitors where to go with regards to places of interest and what to expect. It is worthwhile to note that when visitors visit our towns and resort locations they will spend money and through that the economy will grow,” he said.
The two-day familiarisation tour saw the tourism players visiting attractions such as Khami Ruins, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo’s oldest township of Makokoba, National Museums and Monuments, Matobo National Park and Amagugu International Heritage Centre.
The group was accompanied by a historian who detailed information pertaining to the historic sites, which the team visited.
“The last time we were marking areas of tourist attraction, making them visible, now they are visible. The question is who is going to do what and where, so we decided to engage hotels and lodges. Hoteliers must know the history behind all tourist attraction sites, for example we have Matobo, they should be able to sell it to their guests because they are the ones who have access to the guests. Instead of keeping them in their rooms they should play a part in the growth of the tourism sector,” he added.