By Daniel Chigundu
LOCAL Government Minister July Moyo has said local authorities have an important role to play in the marketing of attraction sites in the country.
Zimbabwe has various tourist attractions dotted around the country but in most cases, local authorities who are in charge of areas where these sites are situated have largely been relegated to spectators.
This is despite the fact that local authorities play a critical role in ensuring that these tourism facilities are accessible through the provision of roads, provision of water and refuse collection among others.
Addressing delegates during a Sanganai/Hlanganani 2018 Ministers Roundtable at Cresta Churchill in Bulawayo, Minister Moyo said there has to be some synergy between the local authorities and the tourism sector.
“Every local authority in every province must understand the assets in their locality and those assets are your products whether its water, electricity, schools, clinics, hotels, lodges, these become products that make you attract tourists.
“So as you talk digitalisation you must also be thinking about local authorities digitalising their products so that you can use it you the marketers for marketing,” he said.
The minister added that “there must be some synergies between the tourism industry and local authorities whether, in Zimbabwe, Malawi or South Africa, these synergies will help in telling you of what you can get in very local authority especially if this is digitalised and it means your digitalised marketing efforts become fruitful.
“We used to have vibrant publicity associations those are no longer existing but these are publicity associations which should be driven by the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, of course, publicity goes beyond tourism it also means local authorities will be publicising themselves for investment.
“If local authorities are publicising themselves for investment and you are advertising the same local authority for tourism you have created a winning team,” said the minister.
The Local Government Minister said the publicity associations in the country should be digitalised just in the same way the tourism sector is digitalising itself.
The digital space has revolutionised the way people or organisations are now marketing their products and services as it reduces transport costs and ensures product content is readily available to anyone in any country and at any time of the day.
Some countries are reducing the number of their tourism marketing offices replacing them with ChatBOTs, taking advantage of the growth in the digital space.
Minister July Moyo said “I can see some working together but we are constantly saying to all our local authorities please do your service level benchmarking and you can’t benchmark thinking internally you have to benchmark such that tourists know what your benchmarks are.