The new political dispensation has breathed in a new lease of life into the tourism sector with Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Chief Executive, Karikoga Kaseke optimistic that tourist arrivals will double the current figures by 2020.
Speaking on Saturday soon after meeting a visiting team of various Spanish agencies who are in the country for an educational tour to learn and understand how to package destination Zimbabwe to the needs and requirements of the Spanish travelers, Kaseke said the country was going through a transformation phase ushered by the new political dispensation.
“Zimbabwe is at a time where it is transforming and the events of the last two weeks have ushered in a new presidency and the new man in charge has been speaking about re-engagement with the Western and European Union nations especially in the tourism sector, which has a key role in economic revival.
“Zimbabwe was so much isolated in the international community. We were once a member of the Commonwealth and also threatened to pull out of other international organisations were belonged to but the ushering in of the new era has brought in a lot of hope.
“The new president is promising a lot of positives to come for the country. From a tourism point of view, we were battling with the image of the country wherever we went. We tried several times to sell the image but it was difficult,” said Kaseke.
He noted that the response of the international world to the new political leadership has been positive and will give the sector a lot of hope going forward.
“We think it (the new dispensation) is something that is very positive for us as can be seen by the response of the United Kingdom, the European Union and the Americas, we can bank on that for the revival of the tourism sector thereby helping to re-brand the battered image of the country,” added Kaseke.
He pleaded with the Spanish agencies to help promote the brand Zimbabwe on the global tourism map.
“If we approach this relationship wisely, then there will be magnified change for the brand Zimbabwe. We are likely to see tourist arrivals doubling in the next two to three years and within six months from now, we will not be crying foul over the poor branding of Zimbabwe,that is if we work closely,” Kaseke noted.
He said tourism plays a critical role in eradicating poverty in the country.
The Spanish team led by Gabriel Gonzalez of KOBO Safaris pledged to help the country rebuild its name on the international tourism map.
Lola Martinez of Descubrir Viajes said her organisation was looking to promote new destinations in Africa with Zimbabwe being one of good option for the future.
“We are always looking to promote new destinations and we have been doing so for Africa for over two years. Zimbabwe is a wonderful option to the future and we will be working closely with the ZTA to help them grow their image,” she said.