Brace for 300+ Chinese guests, says Minister

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GOVERNMENT is working hard to position the local tourism industry to brace for an influx of Chinese tourists as the Asian country is fast growing into the country’s leading source market.

Lately, Chinese tourists have been flocking to Zimbabwe especially Victoria Falls. The country is conducting training sessions for tourism players to understand the Chinese market.

Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira on Friday said a delegation of more than 300 Chinese will be in the country mid next month.

She appealed to local tour operators and the hospitality industry to position their business for the huge influx.

“We have a new delegation from China that is coming to Zimbabwe. Each month they are doing a three-country tour and they want to come to Victoria Falls. The delegation will visit the
Horn of Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe and this is a challenge for us to have accommodation for 332 people.

“They are coming between 16 and 19 May and what I need is just an answer from you to say yes we can do it. Let’s sort this because if we don’t they are going across to Zambia and
they will strike us off as a destination,” said Minister Mupfumira.

She was addressing captains of tourism industry at a local hotel. On Sunday the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) started a ‘China Ready’ certification training for the tourism industry in
Harare.

The training programme was designed to assist the destination and service providers to be ready for Chinese visitors and to promote the market effectively.

The training session was organised by CBISN and China Outbound Tourism Research Academy (COTA) and attracted more than 100 participants.

Over the years the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France and other European countries were the leading international source markets for Zimbabwe.

China Ready certification acts as an assurance measure that helps to attract Chinese tourists to certified destinations and service providers.

ZTA acting chief executive, Mrs Rita Likukuma, challenged the local sector to take China as a serious potential source market and prioritise their needs. She said all destinations that have
implemented and adopted the China Ready certification experience increased tourist arrivals.

“The training programme is designed to assist the destination and service providers to be ready for Chinese visitors and promote the market effectively. The China Ready certification acts
as a seal of approval for destination Zimbabwe and this should see improved tourist visits by the Chinese as they are assured their expectations will be met,” said Mrs Likukuma.

According to ZTA, tourism operators need to understand the Chinese market, their values, norms and culture.

The full training programme will lead to a 12-month interactive online training and certification of individuals and organisations as China Ready.

It aims to appreciate the Chinese market and is key to operators, tourism training institutions and lead implementing agencies such as Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA), ZTA,
ZIMPARKS, ZimTrade, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) and others.–chronice.co.zw

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