From : Tourismupdate.co.za
By : Dorine Reinstein
7 March 2013
Zimbabwe is set to more than double its tourism arrival numbers by 2015 according to statistics outlined in the draft of the country’s Tourism Master Plan.
UNWTO’s Director for Technical Co-operation and Service, Harsh Varma, was quoted in local newspapers as saying the organisation is planning to help Zimbabwe increase its tourist arrivals from 2,2 million to five million in two years. He said the master plan, which the UNWTO helped draft, took cognisanceof Zimbabwe’s political, economic, social, cultural, technical and geographical aspects.
Industry players are confident Zimbabwe could double its tourism numbers. Ross Kennedy, Chief Executive, Africa Albida Tourism, says there are a number of actions that Zimbabwe and the industry can do to achieve these targets. “A combination of planning and energy between public and private sector is required.”
Kennedy adds that it is important to fight the country’s current political stigma. “The industry has to solve this and the way to do it is to engage in the source markets openly and transparently about who we are and what we offer in terms of products and standards.”
Meanwhile, UNWTO representatives have expressed concern about the current visa system in Zimbabwe. They urged the country to implement a visa-friendly system to grow their share of the tourism market.
According to Kennedy, it is mainly the administration and application process for visas that is to blame for complaints. “Transit visas, in particular, seem to cause an unnecessary burden of time, paperwork and usually cost on travellers, who may only be in an airport building for two hours or so but yet still have to obtain a visitor’s visa.”