Walter Nyamukondiwa Recently in MADRID, Spain
Government is set to open tourism offices in China and Spain as it intensifies its global re-engagement offensive and strengthen ties with major tourist source markets.
This comes as the country has deepened co-operation with Zambia in a development that has seen the two countries exhibiting jointly at the Madrid International Tourism Fair.
Offices have already been secured in Shanghai and Beijing, while the office in Spain is set to be expanded.
China boasts of a population of 1,4 billion people with a middle income population of more than 400 million which has high disposable income and a penchant for travel.
Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira, said Zimbabwe was exploring all avenues to grow the tourism industry.
“We made several engagements with source markets particularly the Chinese and we are going to be engaging on a partnership and a major marketing campaign in China,” she said.
“We also want to enjoy the huge Chinese market and this will result in us opening offices. At the moment we are targeting Shanghai and Beijing in the first quarter of the year.”
She said the country needs to improve connectivity as a key enabler for the local tourism industry, which has registered sustained growth in recent months.
Minister Mupfumira said Zimbabwe had managed to cement relations with Zambia.
“Zambia and Zimbabwe are sharing the same stand at the Madrid International Tourism Fair (FITUR). We have met and discussed a number of issues that are mutually beneficial with my tourism counterpart (Tourism and Arts Minister Charles Banda),” she said.
The two ministers held bilateral talks on the use of Victoria Falls and Kariba by tour operators from the two countries.
She said there was need for increased cooperation between the two countries to maximise benefit.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority will open offices in Shanghai and Beijing in the first quarter of the year.
Similar arrangements will be made in Spain targeting the Iberain market including Spain, Portugal and Andorra which has a developed market.
The minister toured the Sri Lankan stand, which was rated first by international tourism guide publisher Lonely Planet as the “Must Visit” destination in 2019.
Zimbabwe came third after Germany.
At the stand, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau deputy director-Marketing Saranji Thilakaseni said that country had a diverse tourism product and can share notes with Zimbabwe to improve the destination.
Minister Mupfumira said Zimbabwe was exploring all possible avenues to grow the tourism industry.
This, she said would include aggressive marketing and product development. The minister also met Honduras tourism minister Mr Emilio Silvestri and toured the Ghanaian stand.
Tourism has been growing in the last two years with more than 2,5 million tourist arrivals in 2018 to beat the 1998 peak.
The country has been subject to bad publicity which Government hopes to counter by projecting the beauty of the country and its people.