IT is that time again when we reflect on the year that was. The year 2020 came to a close yesterday and yes, it had its joys and sorrows.
I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the tourism sector at large, for remaining resilient in what had been a challenging year for Zimbabwe and the world at large.
It is your commitment and hard work that has seen the tourism sector continuing to hold despite the drawbacks emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, this year, we are delighted to have launched the Zimbho domestic tourism campaign as the sector is seized with reviving the tourism economy that has gone through a rough patch.
This is expected to give the Zimbabwean citizenry more information about the destination, encourage travel, hence more tourism income for those involved in mainstream tourism and those in the value chain.
The Visit Zimbabwe Campaign targeting the international traveller was also launched in partnership with Zimbabwe Cricket.
It is hoped that more partnerships will be forged with other national teams to advance the campaign worldwide.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority launched the Zimbho Domestic Campaign at regional level in the South Eastern Lowveld tourism region of Chiredzi at Palm Tree Place Motel.
The domestic tourism campaign came at a time when most tourism operators if not all have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign is mainly centred on encouraging the domestic market to travel locally amid revelations of an unprecedented period of the pandemic worldwide.
The Zimbho regional launch was graced by social influencers like David Mubayiwa, commonly known as Sabhuku Vharazhipi, and crew alongside the Gonarezhou, movie crew.
The idea behind having social influencers on board was to fuse them into driving the campaign in a different form of art.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism provides some form of cushioning to other sectors in the value chain to the lowest service provider in the communities as every visible service in the value chains aids as a tourism enabler hence long-term sustainability of value chain services to aid on poverty alleviation and job creation and sustenance.
In support of the Zimbho campaign, a number of tourism operators in the South Eastern Lowveld Region were running special discounted packages as a way to encourage domestic travel among Zimbabweans.
The campaign encourages the domestic traveller to adopt the ambassador approach of being proud storytellers of their own tourism services and products.
Zimbho campaign is premised on re-addressing domestic tourism promotion, destination branding, capital development, mice tourism promotion and investment promotion among other key areas that team tourism is currently focusing on.
The south-eastern Lowveld region, which falls under the tourism developed zone, has great potential for expansion with Tugwi Mukosi Dam being the pivotal area earmarked to sell the province.
The Korekore Village was established in Nemakonde, Mashonaland West as we sought to diversify the tourism product base by including cultural villages.
Of course, 2021 will bring its own challenges but I am confident that as team tourism, we will rise to the occasion and work towards positive destination re-positioning.
Airlink announced the launch of a new non-stop route between Cape Town and Harare effective January 18 2021 as it seeks to re-establish itself across southern Africa. The Harare-bound flights will depart Cape Town mid-morning, with the south-bound flight leaving Harare mid-afternoon. Airlink believes the advent of this route will satisfy demand for direct flights between the two cities.