Festive season domestic tourism drive launched

TOURISM and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbara Rwodzi

TOURISM and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbara Rwodzi yesterday implored citizens to sample some of the natural wonders and delights on their doorsteps during festive season as she launched the Festive Season Domestic Campaign — ZIMBHO for Matabeleland North in Binga yesterday.

The campaign, which runs from November 6 to January 15, 2024, is aimed at encouraging locals to travel within the country’s tourism destinations this festive season.

It is designed to focus mainly on the domestic market whose contribution to economic growth and development is yet to be fully realised.

Dubbed #Uripi, the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry together with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is on a drive to encourage locals to visit the various tourism products dotted around the country.

The launch comes as the country has recorded a significant rise in foreign receipts but lagging behind on the domestic front.

As part of the campaign, service providers and prime tourist destinations are being encouraged to offer bargain packages for local visitors. The favourable pricing models are expected to nudge Zimbabweans towards tourist destinations they have long felt are out of their financial reach.

In her speech, read on her behalf by her deputy, Tongai Mnangagwa, Minister Rwodzi said the domestic tourism festive season campaign was part of the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy, expected to increase tourism earnings to US$5 billion by 2025.

Tourism is one of the key economic pillars and the sector is expected to contribute more towards economic growth in line with the upper middle-income economy vision by 2030.

“As the Ministry of Tourism together with Zimbabwe Tourism Authority we are here to announce an exciting new venture the Festive Season Domestic Campaign — ZIMBHO that aims to shape the future of tourism in our beautiful country and in a small way contribute to the national vision,” said Minister Rwodzi.

“The overall goal of the Festive Season Domestic Campaign — ZIMBHO is to drive economic growth through encouraging locals and the Zimbabwean diaspora community to travel within our own borders this festive season, as they partake in the various festivities. The campaign feeds into the target of the US$5 billion tourism economy by 2025 as set in the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy.”

Minister Rwodzi said the campaign is also targeted at Zimbabweans in the diaspora who would be visiting the country during the festive season.

“Through this campaign our primary objective is to promote local tourism and instil a culture of travelling among our fellow citizens. We want to encourage the Zimbabwe diaspora community, as well as the Zimbabwean local community which would have typically sought vacations beyond our borders, to explore the wonders of our own nation,” she said.

Minister Rwodzi said the growth of tourism in any country is championed by its citizens.

“Our positioning statement for this campaign is ‘Holiday in Zimbabwe, Holiday at Home,’ a powerful statement that reminds us of the joy and experience that awaits us right within our own country,” she said.

Minister Rwodzi said Zimbabweans should use the festive season as an opportunity to visit often ignored but magnificent tourist destinations.

Zimbabwe boasts a remarkable array of attractions and activities that appeal to both the domestic and international markets.

“It is crucial for locals and the diaspora alike to recognise Zimbabwe as a premier destination of choice. Our nation is rich in history and heritage, blessed with breath-taking landscapes, teeming with wildlife, and offering a wide variety of tourism products,” said Minister Rwodzi.

“We see immense potential for different domestic market segments, including families, couples, friends and religious communities to indulge in and enjoy Zimbabwe’s tourism offering this festive season.”

The minister said the possibilities are endless — from embarking on daily excursions, visiting various attractions, engaging in different tourism activities, cherishing local gastronomy, partaking in relaxation and recreation activities, to visiting friends and relatives in different parts of the country.

“This can be in Mutoko, Nyanga, Chiredzi, Gwanda, Mbire, Buhera, Hwange and Binga spending at least one night at various accommodation facilities, resorts, and park estates. During this campaign, we encourage everyone to experience the magnificence that Zimbabwe has to offer through exploring our hidden gems of our local attractions,” said Minister Rwodzi.

“You can immerse yourself in the beauty of our flora and fauna, treating your taste buds to our sumptuous local cuisine, embracing the entertainment options available, be it sports, concerts or the vibrant nightlife. In addition, the richness of our traditions is something not to be forgotten, where weddings, funeral rites and family gatherings hold a special place in our hearts.”

Speaking during the same event, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo expressed optimism that the sand beach in Binga, the only one of its kind in the country, could become one of Zimbabwe’s prime tourist destinations.

Chronicle

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