By Wallace Mawire
In line with re-positioning Zimbabwe as an investment hub, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry is spearheading the development of a National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS).
The ZTA’s main mandate is to lead the country’s efforts in marketing brand, according to Godfrey Koti, ZTA, Head of Corporate Affairs. According to the ZTA, the NTSS is meant to foster a shared vision on the development and promotion of tourism in Zimbabwe.
According to the ZTA, the development of National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) is a critical and priority programme for Zimbabwe.It is reported that this is important if the tourism sector has to unlock its potential and meaningfully contribute towards national economic revival, growth and development.
As a key sector of the economy tourism is a potential multi-billion dollar industry with the capacity to contribute towards the national income, foreign exchange and employment. According to the UNWTO, 1 in 11 jobs globally are accounted for by tourism.
The ZTA says that the need to put in place a development framework that should see tourism on the continued growth trajectory going forward need not be overemphasised.
It is also added that elsewhere especially in South Africa, the implementation of actions identified in the NTSS placed South Africa on a path of inclusive tourism growth which contributed to significant economic development to the country.
The implementation of the NTSS also enabled South Africa to enhance its overall destination appeal and World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Ranking especially with regard to cultural and natural iconic attractions.
These are reported to have have largely remained the mainstay of its destination offering. The development and marketing these assets appropriately and ensuring that they are delivered through excellent service levels by tourism
businesses provided impetus for destination attractiveness and competitiveness.
Zimbabwe currently does not have a tourism sector strategy that among other things set concrete targets and provides a rallying point and trajectory for guiding the sector and unlocking its potential growth and development.
It is said that, the absence of such a strategic document is a missing gap that needs to be urgently closed.
Its is added that, countries that have done well in Africa, for example, South Africa and Kenya and even beyond have seen their tourism being spurred by the development and implementation of succeeding National Tourism Sector Strategies.
The themes expected to form part of the NTSS include the Tourism Economy (Tourism Trends and Statistics), Nation Branding and Destination Image, Destination Competiveness, Destination Marketing –
Domestic Tourism, International and Diaspora Tourism
– MICE Tourism, Destination Management -Product and Service Quality
-Human Capital Development, Destination Accessibility and
Facilitation, Enterprise Development and Tourism Funding including
SMEs, and the Rural Tourism and Benefits to Communities
According to the ZTA spokesperson, in order to foster a shared vision in the development of the NTSS for Zimbabwe, it is imperative to consult key stakeholders.They says that this could be achieved through stakeholder consultative workshops.
ZTA says that given that the NTSS has been identified as one of the priority100 Days Programmes for tourism, three
stakeholder consultative workshops will be held in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls plus one validation workshop to be held in Harare. Stakeholders from other provinces or tourism regions will be invited
to participate at these said stakeholder workshops.
Its is also reported that the complete NTSS is expected to be launched by the end of March 2018.
According to ZTA,once launched, the implementation will be spearheaded by the NTSS committee chaired by the minister for Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
Provincial NTSS Committees will also be established to facilitate implementation at provincial level. It is also proposed that a National Tourism Stakeholder Forum be held annually to among other things review progress
in the implementation of the NTSS and attend to emerging issues.