Tourism operators urged to leverage on technology

THE future of tourism hinges on destination accessibility and leveraging on technology for ease of product marketing, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Officiating at the launch of new travel packages — Vaya Air Charter and Vaya Hopper by Cassava Smartech — in Victoria Falls on Thursday, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu challenged tour operators to leverage on technology for ease of marketing products across the globe.

Cassava Smartech is a one-year old demerger from Econet and is among the top five counters on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. Vaya Air Charter and Vaya Hopper, including Vaya Ambulance are its new products meant to cater for travellers, both tourists and business, who may choose not to use commercial flights and want to meet deadlines outside scheduled flights.

“Tourism sector growth has been growing at an average of six percent per year over the last five years and the future, set at 20 percent from 2018-2020 is hinged on the provision of destination accessibility through air services, which is the key determinant for such growth.

“Currently most travel is through commercial flights or road hence today marks a new chapter in our efforts to broaden access to beautiful places in Zimbabwe or from Zimbabwe to any country as Vaya launches Air Charter,” said Minister Ndlovu.

He said such innovations leverage on digital technology to provide convenience to the public and will transform air travel space. Minister Ndlovu said the coming in of Vaya Air Charter should challenge the notion that traditional Air Charter has not been affordable for the general public.

To use Vaya Air Charter, one would call a toll-free number or send an email to enquire, pay and the charter is sent anywhere locally or across the border.

The Vaya Hopper is a cheap environment friendly mode of transport where tourists will be moved using a three-wheeled motorcycle. Minister Ndlovu challenged operators to embrace the opportunity and form synergies and leverage on technology for ease of business.

“This will make Zimbabwe more accessible to other foreign markets hence enhancing tourism sector’s potential to generate foreign currency. This service will go a long way in making sure Zimbabwe aligns to global trends of using technology to transform the lives of our people,” said Minister Ndlovu.

He said Government’s vision is to see companies harness technology and expertise to ensure that Zimbabwe gets the best out of its assets. He reiterated his ministry’s commitment to facilitate tourism investments along the tourism value chain and to work with all private players in the process, which he said is key in achieving the projected $6 billion tourism economy by 2023.

Cassava Smartech executive Mr Lovemore Nyatsine said Vaya Air Charter will make a difference to the corporate world especially executives wishing to attend several meetings at different locations or address workers based at different stations in the country in one day.

“We want to introduce a new service, which we believe will be disruptive and influence plans. This will facilitate private travel, easy access to chartered planes, speed and cost saving for intercity links,” he said.

The company’s commercial officer Mr Givemore Jojo said Cassava’s values include being disruptive, experimental and perceptual as he implored citizens to understand that life is digital. Cassava healthtech chief operations officer Mr Denver Phiri said besides Vaya Air Charter and Vaya Hopper, there is also a mobile Intensive Care Unit for the tourism sector under the same package to help the destination with medical services and give visitors an opportunity to access ambulance services. —chrinicleozw

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