ZIMBABWE-born Springbok prop, Tendai Mtawarira, has been named tourism ambassador for Destination Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has said the main objective for the appointment is to increase tourism traffic into Destination Zimbabwe.
This comes as the global trend in tourism calls for destinations to appoint tourism ambassadors as advocates for the destination offerings. Zimbabwe is bidding to lure an ambitious three million visitors by end of 2019, having received 2,5 million visitors in 2018.
Mtawarira was conferred the honour yesterday morning at a Harare hotel by the Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Prisca Mupfumira.
“The concept of tourism brand ambassadors is widely used as a tool for promoting many destinations across the globe,” Minister Mupfumira said.
“People are appointed tourism ambassadors for their ability to significantly contribute to the promotion of destinations with the main objective of increasing tourism traffic.
“Tourism ambassadors could be nationals of Zimbabwe or non-nationals for which the titles would be tourism ambassador for the former and honorary tourism ambassador for the latter.”
Minister Mupfumira said the person chosen must have excelled in a particular discipline, be it sport, music, art, business, beauty pageants or charity work thereby giving them influence on the international arena.
“The individual must be of high integrity, must be apolitical and also able to defend the interests of Destination Zimbabwe,” she said.
Acting ZTA chief executive, Mrs Rita Likukuma said the veteran Sharks front rower, affectionately known as “The Beast”, who is famous for being the first black Springbok to play 100 Tests and even eclipsed Adriaan Strauss as South Africa’s most capped Super Rugby player, is an opinion leader whose help would be strategic in positioning destination Zimbabwe as a destination of choice.
“Given all his fame on the global rugby arena, he has remained grounded. His humility is worth admiring and his involvement with two major charities here in Zimbabwe, both committed to helping children in school and sport has earned himself the status of philanthropist. His love for Zimbabwe shines through his dedication and hard work, and above all leading by example on whatever he does in his life,” she said.