THE Zimbabwe tourism sector is operating without a vision, a situation that has hindered its growth for the past few decades, an executive has said.
Addressing delegates at the National Tourism Strategic Sector (NTSS) Consultative Workshop in Bulawayo yesterday, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive, Karikoga Kaseke, said the tourism sector was currently rudderless.
“Vision is very important for any organisation, moreso for a sector like the national tourism sector. We can’t have a sector like we are having now without a vision. But do we have a vision? We don’t have a vision. The truth is we don’t have a vision. Now if we don’t have a vision what must we do? We must come up with a vision,” Kaseke said.
Currently, ZTA in conjunction with the ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry are conducting NTSS consultative workshops tour across various provinces in Zimbabwe, mapping out how the sector can meaningfully contribute to the country’s economy.
Kaseke said government should take a lead in shaping up the sector’s vision.
“What should be our vision as a sector? Tourism is government-led and private sector-driven. We are simply saying government should take the lead like what is doing now to come up with this tourism sector strategy,” he said.
“We should start with a vision. We have had this as a vision from the former minister (Walter Mzembi). He said his vision for the sector was 5:5:15:2020. Whatever he meant, 5:5:15:2020 is not a vision.”
“This means he sat in his office and came up with his vision and he announced it to some of us and I asked him, ‘minister what do you mean?’ He said it’s my vision. No, a vision should not come from an individual. It should come from a consultative process like what our new minister is doing, consulting people.”
Mzembi’s vision was 5:5:15:2020, meaning moving towards a $5 billion tourism economy from five million arrivals, contributing 15% to the Gross Domestic Product, by the year 2020.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Prisca Mupfumira has listed the promotion of domestic tourism as one of her strategies under the 100-day plan for her ministry.
According to research from ZTA, in the past decades, the tourism industry has been characterised by low participation of locals in leisure tourism, expensive product offering, limited product knowledge and lack of affordable domestic packages.
Currently, tourism is a $1 billion earner to the economy with potential to rake in $5 billion.–newsday