Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) boss Karikoga Kaseke says his gamble to adopt a radical marketing strategy for Zimbabwe has silenced his critics who doubted his capacity to steer the ship out of muddy waters.
Addressing the media on the recently won European Business Assembly (EBA) award which the authority won for good business management in Africa and the Middle East .
Kaseke was one of the several people awarded at the EBA ceremony in France.
Commenting on his award, the Tourism authority boss said he was criticized for bringing the Brazilian national soccer team into the country for a friendly match against the Zimbabwe warriors ahead of the World Cup 2010 in South Africa.
“When I introduced a rigorous method to market the country, I received a lot of backlash with a lot of people doubting me. But I have come on top and the methods are paying off through being recognized internationally.
“When we introduced the Carnival, there was a lot of tongue lashing but today our carnival is being recognized all over the world. It has become the biggest street party in Africa and the Middle East,” said Kaseke.
He added that noted the authority pays homage to government’s support in changing the face of tourism in Zimbabwe.
Kaseke called on the corporate world to chip in marketing the country and attract international tourists.
“We need the private sector, we need government and public sectors to supper tourism in the country.
“We still have a long way to go in making Zimbabwe a great tourist destination but we are getting there. The Socrate Award goes a long way in recognizing the work we do.
“When we do our work, we are not aware that there are some international organizations which are looking at us. They are watching the good work and this is a serious endorsement to market our destination,” said Kaseke.
He however said more is needed to penetrate the Chinese tourism market which has the largest number of tourists worldwide.
“We are going to start using thus accolade to try and lure Chinese tourism markets. Hopefully it will contribute to our market efforts if those Chinese arrivals increase out markets. We will make as much as possible I’m marketing our country,” he said.
The 2017 edition of Harare International Carnival was by far the biggest in terms of audience with an estimated 1.5 million people believed to have attended the street party event and Kaseke believes such achievements are enough to prove critics wrong.