TOURISM and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi has said Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is increasingly adopting a holistic approach to gain new source markets from both the East and the West.
“East, West, home is always best. The ideal investment partners for our natural resources stock are ourselves Zimbabweans: Zimbabweans partnering with Zimbabweans in the first instance, but history and fate has developed us in a skewed sense, endowing and favouring those other parts of the world with a head-start on capital, technology and skills, whilst we have caught fast on an educated population not necessarily skilled,” he said.
“So we have to court win-win partnerships, going forward to unlock our resource potential.”
Mzembi made the remarks as he heads for New York today for a seminar on investment and tourism in Africa.
The seminar, to be held on Monday, is organised by the Spanish Permanent Mission to the United Nations together with Casa África, Spain’s main public diplomacy institution dedicated to the African continent, and Real Instituto Elcano, one of the most prestigious think-tanks. It will be attended ambassadors accredited to the UN and business executives from the United States and Spain.
A key aim of this event is to contribute to the development of tourism with a panel which deals with Africa’s future in this field and share entrepreneurship experiences in the hotel-leisure-vacation industry as a way to increasing welfare in countries willing to promote tourism.
Mzembi will be the panellist on the topic Tourism, the Untapped Potential for Future Growth.
Other panellists include Jean Kapata, Zambia’s Minister of Tourism and Arts and Carlos Vogeler, director – executive secretary of member relations, UN World Tourism Organisation.
Mzembi said he would use the seminar to lure investment into the country’s tourism industry.
Mzembi’s trip to New York comes barely a week after his return from China as part of President Robert Mugabe’s delegation to the Asian nation to seek support in infrastructure projects.
Mzembi signed a memorandum of understanding on tourism co-operation with China National Tourism Administration chairman Shao Qiwei, a move that would help increase tourist arrivals from China.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority recently noted in its 2014 preliminary report that Zimbabwe registered a 1% increase in tourist arrivals to 867 163 compared to 860 995 in the same period last year.
The authority attributed this growth to support by the increase in European arrivals, with Germany accounting for 35% at 10 241 from 6 618 and the UK growing 9% to 20 812 from 19 007.