Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy is fast gathering momentum as industry players eye the lucrative Asian market.
The country, under Destination Zimbabwe, is exhibiting at the week-long 29th edition of South Asia’s Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE), which started on Sunday and ends on Sunday next week at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida and Delhi.
Following a successful showcase at the recently ended Arabian Travel Market (ATM)) last week, the current participation is in line with the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy, which focuses on all efforts towards recovery of inbound international tourism to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) acting chief executive Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said: “The leading Asian outbound tourism show offers Zimbabwe an opportunity to engage the huge and growing Indian market as well as the Asian long haul operators packaging Zimbabwe and the Southern African region.
“This is indeed Asia’s leading travel and tourism exhibition, which offers a comprehensive platform to reconnect with the industry through business-to-business discussions and networking opportunities for the destination.”
In 2019, a total of 21 958 tourist arrivals from India were recorded compared to 19 428 in 2018, registering a 13 percent increase, which shows the great potential this market has for Zimbabwe.
Approximately 26 million Indian travellers engage in outbound trips across the world.
Zimbabwe seeks to attract traffic from India given the strong cultural and economic ties between the two countries.
“The Zimbabwe product appeals to the Indian market. There is a lot of interest in sports tourism, particularly cricket which enjoys a huge following in India, and this is a massive connection point as the ZTA already enjoys an exclusive partnership with Zimbabwe Cricket,” said Mr Chidzidzi.
Zimbabwe’s participation in the SATTE tourism show will help improve destination awareness, a valuable opportunity to learn more on the emerging trends and to encourage Indian operators to promote holiday packages to Zimbabwe.
The sector has embarked on an aggressive domestic tourism marketing drive following the launch of the ZimBho campaign in 2020, which has helped improve domestic travel.
The positive recovery is being enhanced by improved accessibility of tourism products and destination route connectivity in terms of domestic and international transportation.
For example, Qatar Airways commenced flights into Zimbabwe in August last year, while MACK Air of Botswana started servicing the Kasane-Victoria Falls route on May 1 last year.
Low-cost airline FastJet has scheduled flights that connect Victoria Falls to the Kruger National Park via Mpumalanga that were introduced this month.
Falcon Air Safaris, a subsidiary of the District Development Fund, is now servicing Hwange Airport, while efforts to refurbish the Chapoto (in Kanyemba) and Binga aerodromes to support geographical spread of tourism are underway.
Luftansa’s Eurowings started servicing the Frankfurt-Windhoek-Victoria Falls route on March 30 is also being refurbished by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.
In addition, to stimulate quick recovery, the Government has also come up with key incentives such as the waiver of Value Added Tax on domestic tourism and duty exemption facility.
These are meant to help improve access to tourism products and services by the domestic market through extended price reductions. – @nqobilebhebhe