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Thumbs up to Retosa


Tourism and Hospitality Industry permanent secretary Sylvester Maunganidze has heaped praise on the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (Retosa) for its efforts in reshaping the country’s tourism sector by reducing negative perceptions.

Maunganidze said the regional tourism body played a pivotal role towards Zimbabwe and Zambia clinching the rights of co-hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly in 2013.

“Retosa is playing a pivotal role in reducing the negative image the country had on tourism. Tourism is about perception,” said Maunganidze.

Retosa is a regional tourism body, whose mandate is to promote and market tourism in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc).

The organisation was formed in 1997 and with a mandate to promote and market regional tourism in collaboration with the public and private sector.

However, he could not point out Retosa’s efforts as the only major contributor to the improved tourism fortunes.

The Bulawayo meeting came as the country continued to record a steady increase in the number of tourist arrivals that have seen the first half of 2011 registering a 16% increase.

According to a Tourism Trends and Statistics report of the first half of 2011 compiled by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, 657 302 tourists visited the country, representing a 16% increase from 568 706 in 2010.

“Of the 657 302 tourists received by Zimbabwe during the period under review, Africa contributed 86% followed by Europe, 5% and the Americas and Asia, all at 3%. The Oceania contributed 1% while the Middle East contributed less than 2%,” the report said.

Expectations are high within the tourism industry that by 2013, the sector would contribute over 30% towards the national fiscus and above 20% to gross domestic product.

Maunganidze was speaking on the sidelines of the 47th ordinary Retosa board meeting which kicked off in Bulawayo on Tuesday amid fears the current economic global slump would affect tourism arrivals in the region.

He said with backing of Retosa and African Union, Zimbabwe and Zambia managed to secure rights to co-host the world tourism major summit.

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