Zimbabwe and other African countries attending the forthcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly meeting in Victoria Falls in August will be seeking to address the continent’s dismal performance in the global tourism industry, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has said.
Africa accounts for only three percent of the US$1,3 trillion generated by the tourism industry globally and this imbalance needs to be addressed, Minister Mzembi said in an interview at the tourism Indaba 2013 in Durban.
“What seizes me is the dismal performance that has over the years been recorded by some member countries of the UNWTO particularly from Africa. We are going to discuss this when the 186 countries converge for the 20th general assembly from August 24 to 29 this year.
“We are setting the agenda so that we can find ways of reversing the trend and effectively liberate ourselves from this dismal performance. When you consider that we account for only 3 percent of the US$1,3 trillion in the tourism industry worldwide, it shows there is something wrong,” he said.
Minister Mzembi said efforts should be directed towards the issue surrounding the processing of visas, viable airlines and connectivity at various destinations around the continent. He called for a collective approach in promoting the African brand in various source markets around the globe.
“We continue to suffer from collateral damage arising from instability in other spots on the continent and we must now seek to collectively defend Brand Africa and if it’s dealt with decisively, the message will be repeatedly communicated in all the source markets. It’s time Africa fights images with images,” he said.
|Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2013:|
|Namibia||91 / 140|
|Botswana||94 / 140|
|Zambia||108 / 140|
|Zimbabwe||118 / 140|
Minister Mzembi said African airlines should seriously consider consolidation or syndication to enhance their survival in the face of intense competition and domination by the huge foreign airlines. He said the imminent launch of a cyber-city in Victoria Falls would go a long way in boosting the confidence of local and international tourists visiting one of the leading tourists in the world.
“What I see in the country is that Zimbabwe is doing very well in the region and the growth that we have achieved is sending a collective message that we are on the right track,” he said.
The minister said Zimbabwe should build on the opportunity to co-host the UNWTO general assembly as it was the ultimate event in the tourism industry and where binding resolutions will be made that will guide the tourism industry between the assembly and the next one.
For information on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness 2013 rankings go to www3.weforum.org
By: Fanuel Kangondo
Date: 13 May 2013