THE travel and tourism sector has the potential to contribute up to 50 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Zimbabwe and other developing countries if adequate measures are put in place to harness its opportunities, outgoing Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Prisca Mupfumira, has said.
Speaking during an event to mark the rebranding of the Zimbabwe Council of Tourism (ZCT) to Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ), she said developing countries across the world were looking to the development of tourism as a key economic pillar within economies.
Minister Mupfumira noted that in some countries where tourism has played second fiddle to other sectors such as mining, manufacturing and agriculture, efforts were being made to spearhead initiatives that will result in the sector being the pre-eminent economic activity.
“In this context, it is fair and reasonable to look towards travel and tourism being responsible for 50 percent of GDP in developing countries such as Zimbabwe. In terms of employment, national development, foreign currency earnings and international relations, this would be an exciting and phenomenal development that would underpin the economic transformation of Zimbabwe that we all so greatly desire and expect,” she said.
Minister Mupfumira, however, stressed that travel and tourism were dependent on several factors, including sustainability, responsible growth, national stability, saturation marketing and high levels of support and co-operation from the entire nation.
“With the right set of circumstances and inputs, the growth to which I have referred is not only possible but highly probable. I am sure all of us share the vision that I have outlined, and it is incumbent on us all to work towards the transformation of vision into reality,” she said.
She said the ZCT, now TBCZ, would continue to play a valuable role in ensuring that public and private sectors worked together in communicating the ideas, suggestions and demands of the operators, which will shape the future of travel and tourism in the country.
ZCT was born in 1988 under then Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mrs Victoria Chitepo, to look into broad issues and thrust of travel and tourism. The body has been an active and valuable leader, service provider and partner to Government throughout these past three decades, working with a range of individuals and organisations in Zimbabwe, in the region and the world to further the interests of Zimbabwe’s travel and tourism operators and to ensure that this sector enjoyed strength and success.
TBCZ president, Mr Tich Hwingwiri, said the sector has recently seen resurgence with increased arrivals and income for the first time in almost two decades.
“So we have now rebranded to set the foundation for things to come as we focus on the coming 30 years. Our goal is to serve our sector and give a voice, and our vision is of a travel and tourism sector that is sustainable, successful and effective,” he said.