BULAWAYO – Barbra Rwodzi, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, has expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to lead a sector she believes is pivotal to the nation’s economic development and cultural exchange.
Addressing industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders at a breakfast meeting held during the annual tourism showcase, Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo, Rwodzi emphasized the immense potential of the tourism and hospitality industry in contributing to Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 and outlined her vision for its future.
Rwodzi acknowledged the collective efforts of tourism business leaders in rebuilding the industry post-COVID-19 pandemic. She commended their dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment, which have led to the industry’s resurgence.
The Minister highlighted the significance of the tourism sector, stating, “Tourism is not just an industry; it’s a gateway to cultural exchange, economic growth, and international collaboration.” She recognized the private sector’s indispensable role in realizing this potential and called for collaboration between the government and private sector.
Emphasizing the need for innovation,Rwodzi urged the private sector to continue driving technological advancements in tourism, making destinations more accessible and appealing to travelers. Collaboration was another cornerstone of her vision, as she encouraged the creation of marketing campaigns and specialized tour packages to cater to diverse traveler interests.
The Minister also emphasized the importance of workforce development, stating, “The quality of our tourism workforce directly impacts the quality of our visitors’ experiences.” She called on the private sector to invest in training and upskilling tourism professionals.
In her address, Rwodzi stressed the necessity of sustainable practices, given the challenges posed by climate change. She urged the private sector to adopt eco-friendly technologies and engage in responsible tourism, balancing growth and sustainability.
Rwodzi pointed out that tourism is a key pillar of Zimbabwe’s economy, alongside agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. She stressed its potential to contribute significantly to the nation’s income, employment, and foreign currency generation. She highlighted the role of local communities, particularly women and youth, in achieving this potential and called for collaborative efforts.
Regarding infrastructure, the Minister acknowledged the need for more diverse tourism infrastructure, including budget to luxury hotels, convention centers, exhibition, and amusement parks. She expressed confidence that with increased investments from local and foreign investors, Zimbabwe would achieve its goal of becoming a $5 billion tourism economy by 2025.
Minister Rwodzi also reaffirmed the importance of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo as a platform that connects people, cultures, and economies, promoting Zimbabwe as a world-class tourism destination. She praised the ongoing growth in arrivals and investment inflows, largely driven by technological advancements.
In closing, the Minister reiterated the importance of collaboration between the private sector and government in navigating challenges and seizing opportunities. She encouraged relentless innovation, sustainability, and partnership, envisioning a future where Zimbabwe becomes a top-notch tourist destination, creating lasting memories for travelers worldwide.