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HomeNewsJapanese operators urged to explore tourism opportunities in SADC

Japanese operators urged to explore tourism opportunities in SADC

The recently appointed Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Cde Anastancia Ndhlovu, has urged Japanese operators to exploit numerous tourism opportunities in the SADC Region in general and Zimbabwe in particular.

In her address at a reception hosted by the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) during the just ended Japanese Association of Travel Agents (JATA) Tourism Expo in Tokyo Japan the Deputy Minister applauded the Travel Trade, Ambassadors and Tourism Attachés for packaging and promoting the southern region of Africa and the media for highlighting and creating awareness of the region.

Minister  Ndhlovu said, “The Southern African region has diverse tourism attractions to meet any expectations of the Japanese travellers. It is important to note that all our governments in the SADC Region have placed tourism high on our development agendas. In Zimbabwe tourism has been accorded priority status and government is committed to the development of this sector. I therefore urge operators and investors alike to take advantage of the opportunities presented not only in Zimbabwe but in the whole region. My Government for instance is in the process of setting up special tourism economic zones and I invite you to come and invest in these areas that enjoy special incentives.”

She also pointed out issues surrounding facilitation of travel, access to and in the destination, product market match and service standards that were revealed by the market research undertaken with the assistance of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and raised during the workshop.

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“I am pleased to say that these issues are already receiving attention from all our Governments. Visa requirements are being reviewed, while local operators are working on their product to meet the market needs. Governments in the region are progressively opening their skies to improve access,” she Ndhlovu reassured the delegates.

SADC countries this year, for the first time, exhibited jointly at JATA Tourism Expo under the banner of RETOSA.

Deputy Minister Ndlovu led the Zimbabwe delegation to the JATA Tourism Expo that included the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Operating Officer, Mr Givemore Chidzidzi.

Pleased by the turnout of the member states the Cde Ndhlovu expressed her gratification with the interest and business generated during the Expo. She vowed to attend next year’s edition of the travel show in a much bigger way and again under the RETOSA banner.

Japan is an important market for Zimbabwe in particular and the SADC region at large as it is currently generating over 60 000 Japanese tourist arrivals annually into the region.

Speaking at the RETOSA Seminar that was held on the side-lines of JATA under the theme: Southern Africa Tourism – Potential for expanding the Japanese Tourist Market the Acting Executive Director for RETOSA, Mr Simbarashe Mandinyenya, said that efforts are being made through partnership between RETOSA and JICA to support the sustainable tourism development for the region and also to secure the much needed marketing technical support.

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A target to grow the market to more than 500 000 Japanese tourists per annum by 2020 was set and a marketing and strategic plan to penetrate and grow the Japanese market for the region is already being developed with the help of JICA.

The Japan Association of Travel Agents Tourism Expo, a 4 day extravaganza, ended on 27 September with the first two days reserved for the trading business and the last two days open to the public. Zimbabwe’s participation at this prestigious fair was premised on, among other things, strengthening the country’s position in the market through the new destination brand Zimbabwe A World of Wonders, establishing new business contacts and above all correct the negative perceptions about the destination.

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