HARARE – Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has kicked out of the country an American tourism buyer Selina Marasigan on grounds of misunderstanding on her motives.
ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke confirmed the development.
Marasigan was in the country for the just-ended Sanganai/Hlanganani Travel and Tourism Expo.
“We are just screening our buyers and even if you escape the screening and you arrive in this country and we discover that you are here by mistake we will send you back,” Kaseke said.
“We have done that. We have sent one American buyer back because she was not adding value to what we expected.
“Her company was sending around 10 000 tourists per annum but not even a single tourist was coming into Zimbabwe,” said Kaseke, adding that she was driven more by a political agenda rather than harnessing business opportunities availed by Zimbabwe’s tourist attractions.
The ZTA chief emphasised that international buyers were encouraged to move around the country and see the reality on the ground rather than perceptions based on political machinations.
However, Kaseke said that they are targeting to bring 200 international quality buyers next year from the 95 registered this year. He added that they would be targeting various markets with each market bringing in buyers in line with the size of the market.
Kaseke said China, Japan and South Korea were the primary markets in Asia with China expected to bring a large number of buyers of high quality.
Other primary markets include United States, Germany, United Kingdom and South Africa.
“We are looking at those who are already active in selling Africa and those that are not bringing adequate number of tourists to this sub-Saharan region we might not want them to come,” he said.
Kaseke emphasised that they were looking at buyers who can sell in excess of 5 000 tourists each per annum to the southern African region and would use the same criteria in choosing buyers from all over the world.
This year, 95 international buyers and media personnel representing 22 countries from across the globe attended the fair. – Kudzai Chawafambira