In a recent development, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to join the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
This makes ZTA the first national tourism organisation from the continent of Africa to the association. The two organisations signed a Letter of Agreement during the annual Sanganai World Tourism Expo in Bulawayo.
The agreement reinforces Zimbabwe’s determination to increase numbers of international visitor arrivals (IVAs) from influential source markets across the Asia Pacific region. The tourism authority has also confirmed its participation at PATA Travel Mart 2016 in Greater Jakarta from 7-9 September 2016.
ZTA’s chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke described as ‘paltry’ numbers of Chinese visitors to Zimbabwe over the past 10 years, failing to surpass the 200,000 mark from a country that is projected to supply over 120 million outbound travellers by end of 2016.
“Gone are the days when just being a tourist destination was a selling point on its own. Now, with the growth of digital world, destinations must be more innovative to get much-needed attention from tourists in face of growing competition. We have no doubt that the journey that we are embarking upon with PATA will go a long way to penetrating the huge Asia Pacific market,” he said. Zimbabwe is set to benefit more from working with PATA.
In welcoming the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to PATA, the CEO Dr Mario Hardy said that there would be close collaboration between the two organisations in support of the drive by ZTA to attract more tourists from the Asia Pacific region in general and mainland China in particular.
Dr Hardy has also pledged to align the Association’s main advocacy themes with key strategic issues, challenges and opportunities arising in Zimbabwe. These themes embrace and evolve around visa facilitation, human capital development, sustainability, crisis management/business recovery, and the ‘dispersal of tourists’ to lesser known, emerging areas of interest to local and international visitors.