In a move to enhance destination awareness and foster market visibility, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has appointed VFS Global to promote Zimbabwe as a preferred tourism destination in both India and Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) region through a collaborative relationship.
GCC is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
The agreement was signed between ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke and officials from VFS Global in Harare yesterday.
Zimbabwe prides itself to being home of the majestic Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a World Heritage Site with the longest curtain of water in the world.
Kaseke said the country has “not been active in the GCC region and our absence has created room for negative perceptions to prevail”.
As part of the agreement, VFS Global would support ZTA to build a unique identity of Zimbabwe as a potential tourist destination by educating and spreading awareness to tour operators, travel agents, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) planners and the general traveller based in India or GCC.
“We are now ready for this market because Zimbabwe is now open for business. Through the appointment of VFS Global as market representatives for Zimbabwe in the GCC region, we aim for increased awareness of Zimbabwe and establish destination presence and visibility. We anticipate a rise in arrivals from GCC region to 13 500 by 2021 as VFS Global embarks on aggressively marketing the country,” Kaseke said at the signing ceremony.
Zimbabwe has recently targeted India as a primary market due to its potential resulting from the rapid growing disposable incomes in India. India is a huge market for Zimbabwe, hence the modest approach to target at least 16 000 Indian travellers by 2021. This will be done through sustainable destination marketing that will be done by VFS Global, he said.
VFS Global regional group COO Jiten Vyas said they are “pleased to partner with ZTA to put this country that has so much of untapped tourism potential on the world map for travellers from India and GCC who can now experience the beautiful nation of Zimbabwe”.
“As a country bestowed with rich cultural heritage, Zimbabwe is strengthening their tourism business and entering their potential markets,” Vyas said adding, “by promoting Zimbabwe’s tourism, we can positively contribute towards the brand building and the economic development of this country.”
With Zimbabwe recently opening its doors for business by undertaking initiatives to boost air connectivity and enhance investments globally, the initiative to build visibility in key markets like India and GCC have seen an increase of over 63% in arrivals in 2017 from both locations cumulatively on a year-on-year comparison.
VFS Global’s Zimbabwe awareness drive is anchored on 10 points of attraction. Apart from the world-famous Victoria Falls, it will sell Zimbabwe for its peace and tranquillity;
safety and security; wonderful people and culture; rich history and heritage; Great Zimbabwe Monuments, the Grand Medieval Palace; the mystique of the Eastern Highlands; pristine wildlife and nature; the mythical Kariba and mighty Zambezi River; and the beautiful weather.
VFS Global lists itself as the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. The company manages administrative and non-judgmental tasks related to visa, passport, identity management and other citizen services. The company is headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Kuoni Group of Switzerland. which belongs to the private equity company EQT.