Travelling & touring: Open letter to Tourism and Hospitality minister, Babra Rwodzi

Gandavaroyi Falls

Re: You really hit the ground running on local tourism promotion.

BEFORE delving into the finer details, Yours Truly would like to take this opportunity to personally  congratulate  you on the recent appointment as Tourism and Hospitality minister. I fervently believe the tourism and hospitality industry is destined for dizzy heights in the travelling and touring world.

Yours Truly is aware that your hands are full of responsibilities and in this letter would try to be as brief as possible.

The ministry is really a game changer in terms of the country's development, which is also firmly anchored on the tourism industry due to various low hanging fruits as evidenced by religious tourism event recently held in Mutoko during the World Tourism Day.

The Mutoko escapade was in itself a game changer to the local community and country at large as there was need for greater participation for those in  small to medium sector which  also plays a pivotal role in the promotion of such religious sites and destinations.

Hon minister, as you earlier alluded, during your Mutoko sajourn  that religious sites such as Bernard Mizeki Shrine among others  are in dire  need of intensive marketing because people might not even be aware that such places are in existence and their importance to both visitors and society at large.

It is also  very true that the legendary  buck must, however,  not stop with religious tourism, but  cascade to traditional tourism as they are a boon to domestic tourists who in most cases  might be oblivious of such attraction places.

Following the swearing in of cabinet ministers by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month, you certainly hit the ground running by taking to task one of the prominent budget airlines over its so-called promotional and discounted airfares.

This particular airline had introduced a promotional return fare from Harare to Kariba of USD300. You were also joined by a chorus of travel enthusiasts, who queried the logic behind such steep increase on the so called special discounted price.

Some even jokingly queried the charge of normal airfare while others vouched for road travelling through conventional transport.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, such pricing systems are at times  deterrent factor and there is need to come up with workable and conducive fair pricing mechanism without the other side crying foul.

However, the same also applies to various hospitality sectors whose pricing models continue to have a ripple effect on domestic tourists, hence diminishing interest on visiting any of the local tourist attraction places.

This issue of assisting  our esteemed, but 'forgotten' domestic tourists is gradually becoming a legendary broken record. Yours Truly is rather optimistic that the  Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, which is the country's premier tourism promotion body and  through your valued  ministry will come up with some form of workable solution concerning this 'burning' issue.

Still on the issue of domestic tourism, there is an utmost need to also promote some of the so called 'unknown'  heritage and traditional sites such as Gandavaroyi Falls, Dzvoritso Falls (both in Gokwe),

Ruware rwa Makate in Mutoko, Boterekwa Range of Mountains( Shurugwi), Pupu Battle Site (Lupane), Pongo War Memorial( Shangani) and Gadade Battle Site in Mbembesi among others.

In Sinamatella area, near the coal mining town  of Hwange there is a hill popularly known as Katunhu ka BaLozwi among the Nambya and Tonga tribes as it has a very rich history traced back to the former.

It is said that during precolonial times, some individuals within Nambya tribesmen tried to dig the stipulated hill and 'carry' it to Zambia where they wanted to present it to one of the Zambian kings in Barotseland. It was meant to be used as a royal throne.

That was not to be done as powers of nature prevailed against them and majority of them were killed by falling boulders while others sustained serious injuries on the process.

Excavations signs  carried out during that particular time are still evident at the mountain peak even to this day,  and this can also be incorporated into the simplistic traditional tourism escapades.

Two years ago, Yours Truly wrote a similar open letter but dwelling on some challenges being faced by various players within Matabeleland North provinces as well as National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe not playing   ball in terms of information dissemination much to the chagrin of tourists and related players.

I would have said much but will continue communicating outside this column.

Together we can make this country a force to reckon within the world tourism map.

Yours Truly

Burzil Dube

Till we meet again in the next column.

Comments always welcome on:[email protected] or X(formerly Twitter)@DubeBurzil

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