Walter Nyamukondiwa, Kariba Bureau
ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) has hailed the commitment by visiting UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin to promote the country’s salient characteristics to the world to help bolster the destination and product promotion effort.
The pledge by Mr Cerefin comes at a time when Zimbabwe has embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign of its resort areas and selling points towards growing tourism’s contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
With a GDP contribution of around $2,5 billion, tourism’s contribution is between 3,5 and 8 percent of the national GDP.
Elaborate plans seek to grow the sector’s contribution to around $8 billion by 2030.
The commitment by Mr Cerefin is seen as opening doors towards consolidating the key European market which contributed 232, 233 tourists in 2018, up from 218, 140 in 2017 representing a 6 percent growth.
Europe represents the largest single tourism market by numbers.
ZTA spokesperson Mr Godfrey Koti said the visit was important for the tourism sector.
“As ZTA we are excited that Mr Cerefin came through and has pledged to go and tell the world about how beautiful Zimbabwe is, how safe the destination is, how friendly the people are and the generality of the tourism products.
“We would like to thank him for the time he took to come here and looking forward to the marketing or ambassadorship role that he is going to play in talking about our country,” he said.
The visit, he said attested to Zimbabwe’s stature as a must visit destination of choice.
In his pledge, Mr Cerefin said much of what was said about Zimbabwe in some quarters was not true adding that Zimbabwe was a unique destination which needed to be correctly reflected across the world.
“They said Zimbabwe is very dangerous, there is no water in Victoria Falls but we still came and people who know me, know that I am not a diplomat.
“Zimbabwe is a fantastic country, with fantastic people, fantastic flora and fauna. We had a great time and we will promote Zimbabwe everywhere, trust me,” he said.
According to the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) running from 2018 to 2030, Zimbabwe is seeking growth in tourism export earnings through effective marketing, product development and facilitation and access.
The strategy also seeks to leverage on environmental sustainability, destination management, information communication technology, and human capital development.