Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says the coming on board of a new political leadership has boosted a sense of pride among Zimbabweans with the authority mulling a domestic tourism campaign to encourage citizens to explore and discover attractions that are within their reach.
ZTA Chief Operations Officer, Givemore Chidzidzi told journalists on the sidelines of a brain storming session that consumption of local tourism products by locals also encourages circulation of money in the economy, which in turn grows the economy.
“We have been having a problem where when the locals hear about tourism they start to think of international tourists. But we want to remove that mindset and we have come up with a domestic tourism campaign which will target promoting more domestic travels.
“We aim to intensify awareness of what the country has to offer ,to re brand 10 Publicity Associations into Tourism Information Centers , to reduce the rates of tourism products and services to affordable levels for locals as well as to coordinate the development of affordable domestic packages,” said Chidzidzi.
Tourism is a key economic sector that has the potential to contribute towards economic growth and development.
It is a service sector at the end of the value chain, which relies on the support of key enablers such as transport, information communication technologies and banking among others.
Domestic tourism is one of the segments of tourism that plays a vital role in any country’s tourism development. Globally, the number of domestic arrivals is estimated to exceed four times the number of international arrivals.
Chidzidzi added that Domestic Tourism forms a bedrock of any tourism sector.
“Domestic tourism helps to maintain the sustainability of the country’s tourism industry by generating a tourism market able to continue travel despite lack of interest from foreign markets.
“It creates tourism awareness and a tourism culture within the country, providing the people with a greater understanding and appreciation of what their country has to offer. It instills a sense of pride in its citizens,” he noted.
Chidzidzi said while the benefits of domestic tourism must be highlighted, several constraints to the development of domestic need to be addressed.
“There is still a significant resistance in many countries when it comes to the development of domestic tourism, so both the benefits and constraints of the sector must be looked into,” he said.