AS preparations for the 15th Edition of the Sanganai Hlanganani World Tourism Expo heat fever pitch, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says it is delighted with the interest on ‘Destination Zimbabwe’ by the Japanese market at the just-ended Tourism Japan Expo in Tokyo.
ZTA’s marketing manager responsible for Asia and the Pacific markets, Mr Eniel Senderayi, said the enquiries and interest during the expo were impressive and emphasised the need to generally increase marketing efforts.
“Tourism Expo Japan offered Destination Zimbabwe the opportunity to gather qualified leads, network as well as witness latest developments and trends within the travel and tourism industry,” he said.
“As an industry worst affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, engagements such as these reinforce our Tourism and Recovery Strategy as we continuously aim to place Zimbabwe back on the tourism map.”
The fair, which had two general public days in the past three days brought massive activity onto the Zimbabwe exhibition stand as tour operators, academics and the wider populace took interest in knowing more about the destination.
Mr Senderayi said enquiries were mainly about connectivity, major attractions, language, culinary, the safety and security of Zimbabwe as a tourist destination.
A broadcast journalist from a local publication, Voice Japan; Makoto Kawamura, who has visited Zimbabwe several times expressed excitement to see Zimbabwe participating and he reminisced on his experiences in Zimbabwe.
“What really blew my mind up by Zimbabwe is it’s people. I was very impressed with attractions such as Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe and Hwange National Park. Zimbabwe has so many places to visit but what surprised me is how good Zimbabwean people are, they were so polite and generally happy to host visitors,” he said.
The pristine wildlife and nature, the wonderful people and culture proved to be the highlights topping the list of most visitors’ beautiful memories with the hope of returning to the World of Wonders again.
Meanwhile, the rebranded Tourism Expo Japan, officially opened with its organizing committee chairperson stipulating processes underway regarding the ease of travel post Covid-19 to enable domestic and international travel.
The committee’s official, Mr Kenichiro Yamanishi, expressed optimism of tourism recovery post pandemic. “The developments are in motion to revive both inbound and outbound tourism demand in Japan,” he said.
“The tourism expo provides a chance for the tourism industry to regain its vitality.”
The opening day saw the convergence of the 5th Ministerial Roundtable themed: “Tackling Climate Change in Tourism”.
Major highlights were on the importance of forging global collaboration to advance climate actions in tourism, and finding solutions to co-exist in the post pandemic world.
One of the key outcomes of the roundtable discussion was the need to establish a Global Tourism Resilience Fund to tackle possible disruptions in Tourism.
Four major tourism organisations who include the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) provided Policy recommendations during the discussions.