Zimbabwe which is hosting a high-profile nine team Women Cricket World Cup Qualifier, has been availed yet another opportunity to market itself as a tourist destination of choice.
The countries involved in the tournament are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, USA, Sri Lanka, Netherlands, West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the welcome ceremony for the participating teams, President Mnangagwa said the event was an opportunity for Zimbabwe to showcase its rich and diverse cultural heritage and hospitality.
“We are privileged and honoured to be hosting a tournament of this magnitude and global significance, bringing together nine teams over 15 days, competing at four venues across our capital city, Harare,” said President Mnangagwa.
He urged the touring players and officials to take advantage of the event to visit the country’s tourist attractions.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe has so much to offer through wonderful tourist sites such as the Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe, Nyanga, Vumba Mountains, Mana Pools and Hwange National Park.
Speaking at the same event Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Mr Tavengwa Mukuhlani said Zimbabweans must take advantage of such events which not only stimulate economic and tourism activities but also create diplomatic opportunities and lasting legacies for the benefit of local communities.
He said the more than 200 players should not be viewed as just world-class cricket players but also as tourists that will help market Zimbabwe.
“All of them are ambassadors of their respective countries whom I have no doubt will tell their families and friends back home about how great Zimbabwe is, the country’s beauty and the hospitality of its people,” said Mr Mukuhlani.
He said as ZC they have been promoting the “Visit Zimbabwe” tourism campaign.
The ICC Women Cricket World Cup Qualifier tournament is coming a few weeks after Zimbabwe registered another diplomatic breakthrough at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow, Scotland.
President Mnangagwa engaged several world leaders during the conference and they all promised to grow relations with Zimbabwe.
Last August Zimbabwe had another opportunity to market itself when ten chief executives of big corporates in America visited Victoria Falls and spent three days in the resort city.
The executives said they enjoyed their stay in Victoria Falls and promised to come back. The challenge to the tourism industry is to ensure we have repeat visits of such international tourists.
The cricket players should return to Zimbabwe not to play cricket but to enjoy the country’s warmth and hospitality at the different tourist attractions.