HARARE – The minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira, yesterday encouraged locals to favour local tourist destinations over international destinations.
Mupfumira said Zimbabweans have a tendency to give first place to international tourist destinations at the expense of the local tourism industry. She implored locals to consider local tourist destinations first before looking for leisure outside of the borders of the country.
“I am aware that a big number of Zimbabweans are taking holidays within the region and abroad, they know a lot of places outside of Zimbabwe and not much about their own country. We are not complaining because such exposure brings new knowledge into the country, however, tourism like charity should begin at home. We are strongly encouraging our people to take holidays at home first before considering other destinations,” said Mupfumira.
She made the remarks at a media event held in Harare yesterday to announce her ministry’s “domestic tourism policy direction” within the hundred days action plan framework set out by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The minister said her ministry is embarking on a domestic tourism campaign to promote tourism culture among locals.
She said domestic tourism should ideally be the foundation of any tourism industry adding that Zimbabwe has not given due attention to the sub market. She cited expensive products, limited knowledge of tourism knowledge among locals and among other issues as some of the impediments of domestic tourism in Zimbabwe.
“Domestic tourism is an essential contributor to the growth of the tourism economy, it can provide a foundation for sustainable tourism growth and development” she said.
“While successful tourism destinations are anchored on domestic tourism, the same cannot be said about Zimbabwe whose main emphasis has been on regional and international tourism.
“The country’s domestic tourism has been characterised by low participation of locals in leisure tourism, expensive product offerings, limited product knowledge, and lack of affordable domestic packages. Zimbabwe has given limited recognition to very important contribution of the domestic tourism market to the growth and development of the economy,” Mupfimira said.
The main objectives of the domestic tourism campaign are to create awareness in the domestic tourism market, to resuscitate visitor information centres around the country, to initiate affordable rates within the domestic tourism market and to coordinate the development of domestic packages.
The country’s tourism industry has suffered a great deal on account of the bad press associated with political upheaval in the country over the past two decades.
Domestic tourism has become a new frontier in growing tourism in any destination, it offers a fall back plan for any destination’s tourism and also acts as a magnet for international tourism as tourists frequently go where the locals like to go. UNWTO statistics show that domestic tourism accounts for more than 80 percent of tourism revenue globally. The minister said she envisages that this new drive will support the growth of the local tourism industry.
“It is my hope that through this camping there will be increased tourism activity with downstream benefits to other economic factors, a sense of national pride will be instilled among locals thus creating tourism ambassadors in each and every one of us,” Mupfumira said.
— Financial Gazette