The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says Zimbabwe’s destination status remains largely negative and efforts are underway to create a positive perception for the country.
By Edgar Gweshe
In a recent interview, ZTA chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke, said despite efforts made over the last years to improve Zimbabwe’s image in tourism circles, the country continues to be viewed negatively.
He, however, said the ZTA would implement various programmes aimed at improving the country’s image on the regional, continental and international scenes.
Kaseke said they would capitalised on the upcoming match between the Springboks Legends of South Africa and the Zimbabwe Rugby legends on March 28 in Victoria Falls to market Zimbabwe.
“In the markets, we are still being viewed in a negative manner. The markets are still looking at us in a negative manner and although we have managed to improve over the years, it’s 60% negative and 40% positive,” Kaseke said.
“So we are still in the negative era and this type of event will help in erasing the negativity about Zimbabwe that most people have in their minds. We would like to boost the image of Zimbabwe from negative to positive.”
He expressed optimism that by year end, Zimbabwe’s international tourism perception would have transformed.
“We would like to fight this negative publicity that has been haunting us for years. We want to see that this is completely eradicated. We would like to reach a stage where we have 70% positive publicity and 30% negative,” said Kaseke.
“In June, we will be bringing Espanyol from Spain and all this is part of event tourism. We will be expanding our activities and reach out to Europe as well,” said Kaseke.
Zimbabwe’s tourism sector suffered a heavy knock following the launch of the land reform programme in 2002 which saw relations between the European Union and Zimbabwe being strained resulting in a sharp decrease in the number of visitors from the continent to Zimbabwe.
Other factors that led to a slump in tourist arrivals in the country were violence associated with elections as well as human rights violations.