Tourism industry on revival course

Ndamu Sandu

THE annual tourism and travel fair, the Indaba held in Durban, South Africa, has brought a boon to the tourism industry signaling its revival, participants have said.



NT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Participants this week said the response from the Indaba would resuscitate the waning fortunes of the tourism industry, which have been tumbling as a result of the bad publicity caused by the controversial land resettlement programme.


Tourism earnings have declined to US$75,7 million in 2002 from an all-time high of US$201,6 million in 1999.


The four-day fair, which ended last Tuesday, grouped together tourism and promotion bodies from countries of the world.


The Zimbabwe Council of Tourism (ZCT) president Shingi Munyeza said many opportunities were realised during the event.


He said: “The response was positive unlike last year and there were many opportunities.”


Munyeza, who is the chief executive officer of the Zimsun Leisure Group said a group of 850 tourists coordinated by a South African tour operator was coming to the new-look Elephant Hills Inter-Continental in Victoria Falls in March next year.


The hotel was gutted down by fire and its official reopening would coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Zimbabwe Supermodel finals next month.


The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), the country’s marketing body, this week said the response was overwhelming.


“Business was good compared to last year,” said ZTA marketing and communications director Givemore Chidzidzi.


He said there was enthusiasm as “people are realising that Zimbabwe is a safe tourist destination”.


Chidzidzi said Zimbabwe’s participation at the Indaba was aimed at reviving the ailing tourism industry and contribute significantly to the New Economic Revival Programme (Nerp).


He attributed the positive response on Zimbabwe to a strong marketing team from Zimbabwe.


Chidzidzi said there were pre-Indaba marketing sessions which resulted in 25 Zimbabwean companies participating at the fair.


Meanwhile, Chidzidzi said preparations had already begun for the annual Travel Expo scheduled for October 2-5.


He said the ZTA had used the Indaba in South Africa to give potential visitors some insight into the opportunities available in Zimbabwe.


Chidzidzi said he hoped this would attract more tourists to Zimbabwe and, in the process, boost the country’s foreign currency earnings.

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