By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) is expected to open an office in Shanghai which will go a long way in marketing the country’s various tourist attraction centres to the Chinese people.
China is arguably the world’s largest source of outbound tourists with about 120 million Chinese nationals reported to have travelled abroad in 2015.
According to the China National Tourism Organisation (CNTO), China will provide as much as 600 million outbound tourists by 2020 making a very lucrative market.
However, although Zimbabwe has enjoyed some form of a relationship with China under the Look East Policy, it has failed to maintain a marketing office in China owing to alleged lack of finances.
According to a report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Zimbabwe is not known in China due to lack of a marketing.
Speaking recently while welcome the Zheing Zhiang Radio and TV Group, Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira said they are going to employ an aggressive marketing approach that includes setting up of the much-needed office.
“We will be opening a division of ZTA in Shanghai shortly so that we can market and talk about Zimbabwe in China.
“We know China is one of the biggest source markets for tourism but unfortunately our presence as far as tourism is concerned in China has been low hence this aggressive approach first to show the Chinese people what Zimbabwe has to offer,” she said.
Minister Mupfumira added that her ministry is also going to organise a symposium of the tour operators from China so that they can visit and experience what Zimbabwe has to offer.
The Tourism Ministry also revealed that it is in the process of looking for a very successful strategic partnership with China as far as tourism is concerned.
Although Zimbabwe has some of the most exciting tourism sites in the world, it is, however, is let down by lack of marketing owing to lack of adequate support from treasury despite promises.
If adequately funded, tourism has the potential to bring the much needed foreign currency to the country and according to Hatfield legislator Tapiwa Mashakada; tourism is a low hanging fruit with quick results.