Emirati Women Travel Bloggers tours Hwange National Park

Leonard Ncube, [email protected]

EMIRATI Women Travel Bloggers comprising eight women from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are in Zimbabwe on a two-day familiarisation tour of Hwange National Park.

The delegation landed at the Victoria Falls International Airport from Harare yesterday before proceeding to Hwange by road.

They are in the country at the invitation of the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).

The trip was facilitated by the Zimbabwe Embassy in UAE.

Their tour covers Victoria Falls, Nyanga, and Hwange and the purpose of the visit is to sample the country’s tourist attractions and create content that can be used to market Zimbabwe as an ideal destination of choice.

This comes as Government under the Second Republic is working hard to reposition the country’s tourism by using various strategies including targeting new source markets and introducing a new variety of attractions and activities including sports, religious and gastronomy tourism as it implements the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (Mice) concept.

Government and other stakeholders including ZTA, the Airports Company of Zimbabwe, the Civil Aviation Authority, and tourism players have been jointly marketing the destination to attract more visitors to Zimbabwe. UAE is an emerging market that needs to be tapped into.

Ms Maitha Al Suwaidi

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbara Rwodzi recently implored tourism stakeholders to complement each other to market the destination and provide top-notch hospitality services when the country welcomed Fly Namibia into Victoria Falls.

Already some operators are working together in Victoria Falls with Shearwater Adventures which is Fly Namibia’s local handlers while Cresta Sprayview Hotel provides catering services.

In an interview at the airport, Ms Maitha Al suwaidi, representing the UAE Content creators said: “We are happy to be here with eight ladies to cover the beauty of Zimbabwe. We are very interested in tourism and travel so it’s very important for us.”

Ms Al suwaidi said they stayed in Harare for one night before travelling to Nyanga where they experienced the beauty of the Easter Highlands.“We did the zip line in Nyanga and the staff at the resorts are friendly. Today we are happy that we are in Victoria Falls,” she said.

Al suwaidi commended Zimbabweans for their friendly hospitality. She said the group will become Zimbabwe’s tourism ambassadors.

“I would like other people to come here in Zimbabwe and experience the beauty and hospitality,” she said.

In Hwange, the group was expected to do an afternoon game drive yesterday and a morning game drive today where they will have an opportunity to see the Big 5 at the national park.

They will depart this afternoon for Victoria Falls where they will have a tour of the Victoria Falls Rainforest and informal traders’ markets tomorrow.

They will have an opportunity to taste high-end dishes at local restaurants including undertaking various outdoor activities.

They are also likely to embark on a helicopter flight, elephant interactions, bungee jumping, bridge slide, and village tours tomorrow evening.

On Thursday, the Emirati will visit the Cheetah and Elephant Conservation before flying back to Harare in the afternoon.

On Friday they will visit some selected places in Harare including the Dominic Benhura Gallery and Balancing Rocks and wrap up their visit by meeting officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry before flying back home later in the evening.

The Emirati Women Bloggers are a team of content creators with a passion for travel, showcasing culture, lifestyles, tourist attractions and cuisines. They have 300 000 followers on Instagram and the familiarisation tour aligns with tourism’s strategic destination marketing initiative focusing on influencer partnerships, digital content creation and social media promotion to drive tourism.

In 2020, President Mnangagwa launched the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy in Victoria Falls, which is anchored on Zimbabwe’s vision to be a prime international tourist destination based on the judicious and sustainable exploitation of the unique assets of nature, culture, heritage, and the built environment.

The strategy is informed by the Government’s Vision 2030 to become an upper middle-income economy characterised by increased investment, and decent jobs.

The high growth target of this strategy seeks to achieve a US$5 billion tourism economy by 2025.

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