Govt intensifies drive to boost domestic tourism

Govt intensifies drive to boost domestic tourism
Published: 08 May 2018
GOVERNMENT is engaging tourism players with a possibility of reducing prices of hotel accommodation and activities to be affordable to locals as the drive to promote domestic tourism intensifies.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira told journalists at a Press conference in Victoria Falls last Thursday that reviewing the cost of doing business was critical for the country's tourism sector to increase earnings.

She said the new Government was concerned about the cost of doing business in the tourism sector, which has seen visitors preferring neighbouring countries where accommodation and activities are affordable even to locals.

Tourism is one of the key economic drivers and the new political administration is leaving no stone unturned to make sure the sector attracts more visitors and investors.

"Some people are having conferences in Livingstone because our hotels are expensive. As a ministry we have embarked on domestic tourism where we are crying out to the local industry to look into its costs to see how they can be affordable to locals," said Minister Mupfumira who officially opened a new Shearwater Explorers Village in Victoria Falls.

The facility was built at a cost of $4 million by Shearwater Adventures and offers cheaper accommodation.

The minister said she was hopeful for positive results especially at a time when Government was opening up Zimbabwe for business.

She said the domestic tourism drive involves raising awareness to locals about tourist resorts and this will see publicity information centres dotted in most local authorities being revived.

"As a destination, Zimbabwe has all it takes but for 18 years we have been invisible hence we lost out. In tourism you have to be present.

"I am happy with the current drive where we have seen an increase in room uptake but we have to make sure this is accessible to domestic tourists by advertising all resorts in provinces," said Min Mupfumira.

The move resonates with the ongoing branding drive by Government where respective provinces were tasked to document all tour and business activities and create a brand based on what each can offer, which can be used to market the country.

"Tourism is about what you have to offer in your area. In other countries 75 percent of their tourism is domestic and that is why we want ours to be affordable to locals.

"We are negotiating with colleagues to reduce some of their costs and I hope this will be supported because the President has supported it," she said.

As part of the drive, Min Mupfumira said locals should be allowed to access resort areas domiciled in their areas free of charge or at nominal fees.

Her remarks followed concerns by Victoria Falls residents who demanded free access into the Rainforest where they have complained at various platforms that the $7 charged on locals was too expensive.

Residents petitioned Parliament in November last year arguing that they were not benefiting from the natural wonder while their children were failing examinations related to the waterfalls yet it was at their doorstep. No response has come from Parliament yet.

Minister Mupfumira said as part of initiatives to promote domestic tourism, a National Tourism Sector Strategy was being worked on with the document already validated and waiting to be launched. A domestic tourism strategy seeks to encourage tourism at community or village level.
- zimpapers
Tags: Tourism,


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