COMMENT: Domestic traffic focus key to tourism sector growth

Yesterday we carried a report on a new revolution that saw Victoria Falls and other tourist attractions around the country teeming with activity over the Easter Holiday, which ended on Monday. 

Tourism operators who spoke to our news crew said the Easter Holiday was fairly busy, with local tourists dominating major tourist attractions around Bulawayo, such as the famous Matopos National Park.

Domestic tourism in Zimbabwe has emerged as a pivotal component of the nation’s tourism industry, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. With international travel restrictions impacting the flow of overseas visitors, the focus has shifted to cultivating a robust internal tourism market.

Zimbabwe boasts a wealth of attractions, from the majestic Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, to the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe and the verdant landscapes of the Eastern Highlands. The country’s tourism strategy has been re-oriented to make these wonders more accessible to Zimbabweans, addressing affordability and promoting local engagement with cultural and natural heritage sites.

This shift not only supports the sustainability of the tourism sector but also fosters a sense of pride and ownership among the citizens, encouraging conservation efforts and the preservation of Zimbabwe’s unique biodiversity and rich cultural tapestry. 

Domestic tourism has the potential to contribute significantly to sustainable tourism development in Zimbabwe. It can lead to destination exposition, where knowledgeable locals expose visited destinations to other tourism stakeholders. This can result in increased popularity of the destination both within and outside the local community.

Moreover, domestic tourism can lead to economic development. By spending within the country, domestic tourists contribute to the local economy, supporting businesses and creating jobs. This can lead to an improved standard of living for the local population and contribute to the overall economic growth of the country.

While domestic tourism presents numerous opportunities, it also comes with its own set of challenges. One of the main challenges is the high cost of tourism products and services, which can be unaffordable for many locals. This issue needs to be addressed by managers and policymakers, to make domestic tourism more accessible and affordable.

Domestic tourism in Zimbabwe has the potential to contribute significantly to sustainable tourism development and the attainment of a middle-income economy, in line with Vision 2030. While there are challenges to overcome, with the right strategies and policies, domestic tourism can play a crucial role in the country’s post-Covid-19 recovery and contribute to the overall growth of the tourism industry. 

As Zimbabwe continues to navigate the impacts of the pandemic, the promotion of domestic tourism will be key to the country’s tourism recovery strategy and its journey towards sustainable development.


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