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Africa Tourism Indaba opens Africa Tourism Indaba opens

ZIMBABWE is participating at the Africa Travel Indaba (ATI).

At the four-day conference, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Barbara Rwodzi, is being represented by her deputy, Tongai Mnangagwa, who is leading a delegation of ministry officials, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and tourism industry players.

In an interview at her offices yesterday, Minister Rwodzi said she was happy to see many of Zimbabwe's tourism industry players subscribing for the indaba under the country's banner in pushing the "Zimbabwe; A World of Wonders" brand.

"Indeed, we are excited to have a formidable presence at this global platform supported by buoyant Zimbabwean tourism players who have astoundingly responded to the call to participate under destination Zimbabwe," she said.

"This is testament of both Government and destination managers' collaborative efforts and yes, together, we shall take on the global market. (The) indaba, being the biggest travel meeting place in Africa and ranks in the top three of international events of its kind, gives us a guarantee that we can leverage the presence of over 1 000 exhibitors, 300 international buyers and a plethora of international media to gain market share."

Zimbabwe's industry players represent a whole spectrum of the tourism value chain with a mix of big to small and upcoming tourism players, which is indicative of a burgeoning tourism industry.

Muyeni representative, Ms Ratidzo Gumbo, is impressed to be attending the indaba.

"We are thrilled to be part of this delegation in pushing destination Zimbabwe alongside industry giants such as Cresta Hotels and Ilala Lodge, and being a new kid on the block, we intend to learn more about the international market and how to extract value from it through this platform," she said.

ATI is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three "must visit" events of its kind on the global calendar.

It provides a platform for the travel trade professionals to meet new and existing contacts, gain industry insights and keep up to date with the latest travel trends.

Zimbabwe continues to register growth in tourism arrivals as most key markets registered an increase in 2023 where it received 1 602 781 international tourist arrivals from 1 043 781 in 2022 and US$1,16 billion receipts, a 27 percent increase from US$911 million in 2022.

Arrivals are expected to reach close to 2 million by the close of 2024.

Minister Rwodzi said there was more potential to grow the international market further, reinforced by aggressive marketing to keep up the momentum.

"With impeccable resolve, through the pursuance of international practices to win the minds and hearts of travellers across the globe, destination Zimbabwe shall double its efforts to counter the Covid-19 induced slowed growth by increasing its visibility on the global arena," she said.

"A key cluster that is topical in Zimbabwe is gastronomy where we celebrate and promote our local food. This has attracted a grand opportunity for the destination to host the first-ever UN Tourism Gastronomy forum from 26-28 July 2024 in Victoria Falls.

"Other tourism clusters that are beginning to thrive are sports tourism which has seen the coming in of massive investment where a state-of-the-art cricket stadium is being constructed in Victoria Falls, the venue for the 2026 and 2027 World cricket Tournament alongside South Africa and Namibia."

Minister Rwodzi sai rural tourism was another area of focus where Zimbabwe anticipated diaspora investment into the country through tourism as well as growing rural industrialisation.

Meanwhile, the Government recently deployed tourism attachments to key source markets including South Africa whose role is to promote the destination and forge new partnerships in those areas.

Developing the tourism sector into a US$5 billion industry by the end of next year is in line with the National Vision of Zimbabwe becoming an upper middle-income society by 2030.

Source: allAfrica.com