Eyes on Zimbawe after UNWTO

AS THE euphoria of hosting the just-ended United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference ebbs away, all eyes are on Zimbabwe which has been presented a golden opportunity to spearhead a drive to embrace e–tourism platforms to enable tourists to make bookings and pay online for visiting sites in the country.

Richard Muponde

While most tourist destinations have online presence, very few have invested in e-commerce platforms that could enable potential visitors to Zimbabwe to check for information on activities and destinations online without having them coming into the country first.

With the just-ended summit, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and the Tourism ministry have been challenged to spearhead the e-commerce drive.

Head of corporate affairs at ZTA, Sugar Chagonda, said UNWTO was a marketing event and they were going to vigorously market Zimbabwe on the Internet and introduce e-platforms to make the country easily accessible.

“We said we want to market Zimbabwe as a Mice (meeting, incentives, conference and exhibition) destination,” he said.

“This means we are a world class destination, capable of holding any event of any magnitude.

“We are happy that we successfully hosted UNWTO and it’s an endorsement of Zimbabwe as a safe destination.

“In turn, we are going to vigorously conduct e-marketing and create e-platforms for tourists to easily access us.

“This explains why we engaged e-commerce providers to market Victoria Falls during UNWTO.”

The national president of Employers’ Association of Tourism Operators and Shearwater Adventures public relations manager Clement Mukwasi yesterday said the government should spearhead the programme, as the country was lagging behind
in e-tourism facilities.

“Nationally, we are lagging behind, although some operators have the facilities,” he said.

“This is not a one-man thing, the relevant ministries, such as those of Information Communications and Technology and Tourism and Hospitality Industry should spearhead that and the tour operators will support them.

“We don’t need to have an online presence only, but platforms that enable tourists to pay online.”

The introduction of Internet-based e-commerce brings along many opportunities for businesses to expand their customer base and enter new product markets.

An increasing number of Internet users are buying online and tourism has gradually been grabbing a share of the e-commerce use, worldwide.

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