Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Chronicle
ZIMBABWE has intensified its international tourism marketing campaign as it targets growing arrivals to stimulate more earnings for the sector in line with the targeted US$5 billion milestone by 2025.
Last week the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) participated at the Tourism Expo Japan, which kicked off on Thursday and ran until Sunday, where it used the platform to showcase the country’s diverse tourism products.
Coming ahead of the 15th edition of the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo to be held in Bulawayo next month, Zimbabwe used the Japan expo to also hype the local showcase, whose return after a two-year hiatus has excited the market.
Tourism Expo Japan is organised by the Japan Travel and Tourism Association, Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) and Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO.) It is a prestigious travel trade event attended by key tourism players from the world over.
ZTA chief executive, Ms Winnie Muchanyuka, said Zimbabwe’s presence at the expo was key to widening the tourism market. In 2018 Zimbabwe received a total of 34 214 tourists signaling a great potential that the Japan market has.
“There is need to intensify our marketing efforts through active participation at fairs such as these as they generate travel interest for our destination thereby regaining the market share that was lost during the Covid-19 period,” said Ms Muchanyuka.
“Tourism Expo Japan is one of the leading travel shows on the Asian calendar that offers both business to business (B2B) and business to customers (B2C) networking opportunities targeting Asia’s leading travel trade and consumer outbound travel operators.”
The fair was last held in 2019 and it attracted 1 500 companies from over 100 countries and a total of 250 000 visitors. A total of 12 countries from the southern region exhibited under the Sadc banner and these include Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Mozambique, Mauritius, Angola and Tanzania.
ZTA marketing manager, Mr Eniel Senderayi, who attended the Japan expo said the Asian country was a big market for Zimbabwe.
“In 2018 we received in excess of 30 000 and we are hoping to surpass that figure in the few years to come,” he said.
“We hope our participation this year at the Tourism Expo Japan will entice the market as you know we are coming out of Covid-19 and we are taking this opportunity to re-engage with the market to give them assurance that Zimbabwe still exists and with same attractions it had,” said Mr Senderayi.
“We want more Japanese to come to Zimbabwe and experience what we offer as a destination.”
Bulawayo will play host to the prime tourism expo from October 13-15 at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre.
In a recent media briefing held in Bulawayo, ZTA said in 2020 it lost around US$1 billion in terms of financial receipts and only made US $359 million during the same period.
“The total loss was about US$1,3 billion between 2020 and 2021 in terms of expected revenue and in terms of tourist receipts, in 2019 we closed the year on 2,3 million receipts and in 2021 we received about 600 000 visitors only,” said ZTA head cooperate affairs Mr Godfrey Koti.
Mr Koti said Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo is meant to reposition Zimbabwe tourism industry and events like the Tourism Expo Japan are also vital in terms of going back to pre-Covid-19 levels as far as tourism receipts and financial receipts are concerned. — @SikhulekelaniM1