Story by Kenias Chivuzhe
THE need to promote domestic tourism and broadening tourism packages topped submissions at a tourism policy consultative meeting held in Mutare this Tuesday.
With the tourism sector being one of the country’s low hanging fruits, the tourism policy consultations held in Mutare this Tuesday saw the need to increase investments towards infrastructural development, offering more and diversify packages, destination marketing and branding topping submissions.
“There is need for incentives such as tax holidays to lure more investments and ensure the growth of the sector .Cultural festivals are unique selling points and help to preserve local. Promotion of digital based tourism and community tourism is also critical,” said a Mutare resident.
Improving accessibility of tourism sites and security as well as promoting mass and low tourism is critical. Emphasis should be on all forms of tourism including domestic tourism and create Zoos to bring animals closer to people. Religious tourism, arts tourism, culinary tourism and sports tourism among other forms need to be promoted through marketing and favourable pricing for locals,” added another.
Players in the sector underscored the importance of aggressive marketing of the numerous and unique attractions in the province to promote the growth of the sector.
“We need to appreciate that we are bigger than what we thought. The focus has been Victoria Falls and other places but as Manicaland we have the falls and mountains. We need to harness our efforts because there is too much individualism. We need to combine our efforts and make Manicaland bigger. We haven’t done enough in promoting domestic tourism and we need to be available and offer affordable rates to the under domestic tourism packages. We have people who stay in Mutare who don’t know Mtarazi falls, and some do not know the Vumba mountains,” said Adonis Mutigwe, president – Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe, Manicaland chapter.
First vice president – Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe, Nyakutungwa said, “Every tourism destination needs to highlight and promote predominant cultures in the area. Manicaland is so blessed with the mountainous terrain and many falls that need to be explored. The highest mountain in Zimbabwe is found in Manicaland and there is need to market these places. The flora and fauna found and the unique birds among others need to be marketed and it should be the responsibility of every player in the province to play their part.”
The country’s revised National Tourism Policy is expected to promote the growth of the tourism sector through setting and monitoring standards, market research and product development as well as investment promotion.