A lot has been said about the development of the tourism sector for the country to benefit from the soccer extravaganza but on the ground very little has been done.
Zimbabwe needs to start working or else we will be left to count our losses.
In order to promote the development of tourism, both Government and the private sector are expected to work a hand in glove to achieve this goal that is not very far from reality.
Boasting of the mighty Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, the Eastern Highlands, Great Zimbabwe and a lot more others Zimbabwe is expected to attract a fair share of the visitors to grace the soccer showcase.
I have noticed leisure and hospitality companies have since re-branded to embrace a pan African initiative.
This week the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair is on. The traditional Business Conference will focus on the World Cup 2010 opportunities. This is an opportunity that businesses should not miss.
However – I have noted some issues that Zimbabwe can improve on if we manage to organise ourselves well for the 2010 world cup.
We need to boost public relations campaigns to regain the country’s reputation as a leading tourist destination. This will involve engagement of international public relations companies in major tourist source markets.
There is also need to diversify tourism products from wild life based products to include cultural, shopping and conference tourism among others.
This can only work when all stakeholders intensify marketing activities and broaden tourist source markets to realise diversification as well as:
. Carry out domestic tourism campaigns to create awareness and stimulate travel among others.
. Encourage the development of products accessible and attractive to local tourists.
. Develop suitable promotional material for different markets.
. Promote tourism through a deliberate strategy to attract hosting of international sporting and cultural events.
Government and the private sector are also encouraged to invest in tourism infrastructure targeted at particular sources markets. This includes investment in tourism shopping malls, agro and eco-tourism, urban centre duty free shops and tourism development zones enjoying incentives similar to Export Processing Zone enterprises.
During the trade fair period last year, Zimsun chief executive Shingi Munyeza said Zimbabwe was not connected with the world and there was need to do that. By that time Zimbabwe was directly connected to just eight destinations internationally. This should not be the case now or else we lose out on 2010.
Shingi Munyeza said there was a need for the country to embrace ITCs to explore and market their products.
Zimsun, RTG and Air Zimbabwe have embraced E-ticketing and thumps up to them.
Beside the natural wonders, cultural promotions can make Zimbabwe tick. Cultural promotion can realise immense income through setting up a specific fund for the promotion of cultural activities and prioritising domestic cultural products in various public media.
Underwriting, where necessary, expenses related to domestic cultural events, locally and in overseas markets and intensifying regional co-operation through cultural exchange activities and other trans-frontiers initiatives can also help to boost the culture industry.
Looking at what celebrity hosting has done for the country. The entertainment industry is also supposed to be capacitated.
The enactment of the Broadcasting Services Act in April 2001 gave legal expression to Government’s policy to promote the national entertainment industry. As a result, there is an enabling environment for real growth of Zimbabwe’s entertainment industry, enhancing capacity to generate new jobs, income and foreign currency.
Already, this has led to the discovery of high quality Zimbabwean music, film and theatre.
However, for the industry to take off, Government will have to facilitate duty free imports of music, film, and video equipment for music and film recording.
Furthermore, government will have to set up distribution networks to market the various products, nationally and internationally.
Locally, Kingstones, a Government owned company, will need to play a leading facilitative role to launch and develop this industry.