December 11, 2023

Locals’ participation key to domestic tourism growth

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Lingani Nyika in MASVINGO

Zimbabweans should promote local tourism by prioritising exploring the scenic splendour of their own country rather than taking holidays in foreign countries, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbara Rwodzi has urged.

She launched the festive season domestic campaign ZIMBHO for Masvingo at the weekend, part of the chain of provincial ceremonies running under the theme: “Every Journey leads you home”. The campaign from November 6 to January 15 encourages local people 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 is on a drive to encourage locals to visit the tourism attractions within Zimbabwe.

The launch comes as the country has recorded a significant rise in foreign receipts but lagging 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 was expected to nudge Zimbabweans towards tourist destinations they have long felt are out of their financial reach.

Minister Rwodzi said Masvingo should stimulate and foster tourism growth and help the country increase its gross domestic profit (GDP) in line with Vision 2030.

“Our programme here in Masvingo aims to promote domestic tourism throughout the entire country. Zimbabweans should prioritise exploring the scenic splendour of their own country while promoting local tourism rather than taking holidays in foreign countries,” she said.

“Zimbabweans including those in the diaspora must realise the beauty of their own tourism and participate in tourism activities available in the country.”

Minister Rwodzi said the thrust of the campaign is to effectively boost tourism and hospitality in the province and inculcate a culture of travel amongst locals.

Masvingo is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country.

The province boasts Gonarezhou National Park which is part of the great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, the iconic Great Zimbabwe Monuments, Lake Mutirikwi, Tugwi Mukosi, which is the largest interior dam in Zimbabwe and cultural and historical sites such as the Kamungoma liberation memorial shrine.

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.

Minister Rwodzi said destinations in Masvingo have attracted international tourists, and urged locals to be the key participants in the drive for development.

“The United States is our largest market for destinations like Gonarezhou National Park in Chiredzi, which also has a sugar plantation that offers tourists a spectacular aerial view as well as the Government-built Tugwi Mukosi Dam. Let’s tour the city’s tourist sites and celebrate with our loved ones, and together, we can reach the US$5 billion tourism goal,” she said.

The launch started with a campaign march from Croco Motors to the Civic Centre gardens.

Minister Rwodzi was joined by the Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Dr Addmore Pazvakavambwa and those in the tourism industry.

Speaking during the same occasion, Dr Pazvakavambwa said tourism is a key sector slated to enhance national development.

“The National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), 2021-2025 identifies tourism as one of the anchors underpinning revival and as Masvingo province, we have identified tourism development as a stand-alone pillar which shows its significance as a veritable vehicle of economic growth to achieve vision 2030,” he said.

“I would want to challenge our people to take some time during this festive season to participate in different forms of tourism activities such as eating out, boating, fishing at the Lake Mutirikwi, visiting friends and relatives around the country, game viewing at Kyle Recreational Park and Sikato Lion Park, site-seeing at Mutirikwi Dam wall and visit the Great Zimbabwe Monuments where our country derives its name.”

 

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