Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
PLAYERS in the tourism sector around Hwange National Park have formed an association aimed at promoting sustainable conservation and marketing “Destination Zimbabwe”.
The Association for Tourism Hwange (ATH) brings on board a cross-section of industry representatives and is expected to hold its inaugural full board meeting this week. Gwango Elephant Lodge and Heritage Resort proprietor, Ms Elisabeth Pasalk-Valerio, is the founding chair. In a statement, the ATH board said it will strive to engage on issues of tourism interest.
“We are pleased to welcome an impressive and experienced board of conservationists who are shareholders of companies that own lodges in and around Hwange National Park as well as experts in tourism, conservation and tour activities, environmentalists, suppliers, global travel buyers and professional guides,” reads the statement.
“ATH aims to promote co-operation between tourism companies in the Hwange region, co-operation between private and public sector, capacity building and quality management for tourism services, accessibility of tourism information and country marketing…”
The stakeholders pledged to work towards an increased drive to officially market tourism in Hwange while promoting conservation of national parks in Zimbabwe. The organisation also wants improved relations between the private and public sector in driving tourism marketing campaigns and capacity building for community and tourism development with a focus on environmental sustainability.
In an interview yesterday Mrs Pasalk-Valerio said operators were concerned about protecting the wildlife ecosystem, preserving culture, creating jobs and elevating communities.
The other board members are Mr Blessing Munyenyisa, Sharon Stead, Mr Renius Magumula, Mr Peter Blinston, Ms Shelley Cox, Mr Kaz Dube, Mr Terry Anders, Mr Mark Butcher, Mr Dave Carson, Mr Garth Jenman, Ms Courtney Johnson, Mr Wilbert Makonese, Mr Jonathan Mathuthu, Mr Beks Ndlovu, Ms Marleen Post, Mr Angus Preston and Ms Francie Sherren. – @ncubeleon.