GOVERNMENT has been urged to prioritise digital marketing in a
Tourism destination marketing entails attending various travel shows, conferences and workshops around the world and also maintaining marketing offices in certain key destinations as a way of keeping physical visibility.
While physical visibility is important for destination marketing and has worked wonders for various destinations, it is however, resource constraining for poor destinations like Zimbabwe and other third world countries.
To circumvent these expenses, some destinations have relied on digital marketing which has a wider audience reach and is ever available online for access at any time of the day.
However, even though digital marketing is critical for Zimbabwe at the moment, it was not provided for in the budget and will be implemented in 2019 when Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is expected to cut down on travel shows it will attend from 30 to 20.
Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Portfolio Committee chairperson Consilia Chinanzvavana said failing to fund digital marketing and reducing participation at travel shows will affect efforts to increase arrivals to the country.
“More funding should also be allocated to international marketing and increase target segments accessibility from one to three.
“In order to cut destination marketing expenses, digital marketing, as an international best practice must be prioritised and funded in the budget. Digital marketing has an advantage of reaching a wider audience.
“…the Committee has also observed that the authority (ZTA) would need to scale down on travel shows from the intended 30 to less than 20.
“It further noted that promotions will be intensified on one market segment instead of the usual three markets segments (UK, USA and Nordic countries).
“More so, digital marketing will not commence in 2019 as intended and further disadvantage the authority in this era of technology advancement and diffusion. Thus, the objective of increasing tourism arrivals by 5% per annum will be negatively affected,” she said.
Despite the lack of adequate funding, tourism is one of the four key pillars of the new dispensation’s economic revival strategies and is regarded as low hanging fruit with quick wins.
As a way of embracing digital marketing, ZTA partnered with AccoLeisure Private Limited to come up with a travel guide mobile application called AccoLeisure which is available for download for free on the android and IOS. The application though still being improved and worked is expected to answer to a lot of digital marketing questions in and outside the country.