HARARE – Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has intensified its efforts to grow domestic tourism ahead of the festive season.
Tesa Chikaponya, the executive director, destination marketing at ZTA, says her organisation will be holding a family day during this year’s edition of the Sanganai/Hlanganani Africa Travel fair to be held from October 10 to 12.
“The family day is scheduled for October 12 and we are inviting families, schools, churches, businesses and individuals to come and see packages that the tourism industry has to offer for the festive season,” she said, adding that hoteliers and safari operators have come up with affordable rates for families.
The move by ZTA complements government’s new thrust to aggressively promote domestic tourism and tap into its vast potential as the country moves to revive the once thriving sector.
In the past, the tourism authority tried a selection of approaches such as group holidays, improving admittance to loans from banks on holiday packages as well as exciting school trips intended at increasing the number of Zimbabweans staying at local travel sites.
However, economic experts say the domestic tourism market has all but malformed due to increasing poverty and a depletion of disposable income.
According to Zimstat, the overall poverty rate in the country has reached a record high of 63 percent with Zimbabwe’s estimated population of 12,9 million vastly classified as poor and 16 percent living in extreme poverty.
“Most people in the country have never had the chance to appreciate what our hotels and holiday resorts have to offer and the packages being offered by tourism players during this year’s Christmas time are an opportunity for local people to explore Zimbabwe,” said Chikaponya.
She said there will be lots of entertainment at the family day to keep both the young and the old amused throughout the day.
“There is going to be theme parks, water slides, traditional dance groups, urban groovers and DJs among others who will be providing entertainment at the Rainbow Towers gardens,” said Chikaponya.
During this year’s edition of Sanganai, ZTA will also host a meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) forum on Thursday, October 10, 2013.
The day-long programme, to be held at the HICC, Rainbow Towers Hotel, is aimed at exploring various opportunities and benefits presented by Mice tourism, particularly in Zimbabwe as well as Africa in general.