by WELLINGTON TONI
HARARE, (ITNews Zimbabwe) – THE Government and players in the sector have been urged to be creative and innovative to revive the tourism industry post the coronavirus (COVD-19).
The call by an executive comes as Zimbabwe shifts its focus to domestic tourism as the pandemic paralysed international tourism.
“We are going to do things differently,” said Rumbidzayi Munhuwani, Ekhaya Travel and Tours Managing Director.
“We have to be more innovative and find creative ways to promote domestic travel which really was our focus for a while.”
Zimbabwe had, coinciding with the outbreak, focused on promoting travel among local citizens.
“But now we need to be more intentional in understanding best ways of showing off Zimbabwe in light of this pandemic before things get back to normal,” Munhuwani said.
The Ministry of Tourism has introduced a ZWL$500 million package for the revival of domestic tourism having noted that international travel will remain suspended for a while.
Some of the major prime areas of interest in Zimbabwe include Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Matopos National Park, Mana Pools, Chinhoyi Caves, Lake Kariba, Gonarezhou and Great Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls has been earmarked as key to leading the revival of domestic tourism.
The Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) believes the sector’s recovery will take place in stages with international destinations like the Victoria Falls taking longer.
Munhuwani said pricing of local products will have to be aligned with the locals’ ability to access facilities in their own country.
“Locals have never had an interest when you compare the cost of holidaying locally to regional places like Cape Town and Durban in South Africa. Hotels and lodges will have to come up with a two tier pricing
to entice locals,” she said.
Destination marketing, she added, would also play a key role in highlighting places of interest with a focus on heritage and culture.
Zimbabwe has so far recorded 605 positives cases of the COVID-19. These are mainly from returnees from South Africa, Botswana and the United Kingdom. There have been 242 recoveries and seven deaths.