Report by Farai Machamire from United Arab Emirates
Dubai- Zimbabwe is aiming to leverage the tourism industry’s potential after joining several global destinations at this year’s edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) being held in Dubai – the backyard of architectural landmarks of the 21st century.
The event is the focal point of the Middle East’s travel industry with Zimbabwe hoping to charm the over 40 000 travel professionals who are attending this year’s show.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority acting Chief Executive Rita Likukuma believes the country’s participation at the ATM will go a long way towards building confidence in the destination and increase destination awareness.
Zimbabwe is targeting three million visitors by year end.
“In 2018 Zimbabwe received 7 798 tourist arrivals from the Middle East as compared with 7 537 arrivals recorded in 2017,” Likukuma said.
“The Arabian market gives us an opportunity to rebuild the confidence in destination Zimbabwe and establishing strategic partnership with leading tourism operators promoting packages to Southern Africa and the continent at large,” she said.
The event offers Zimbabwean an opportunity to further raise its profile as an industry hub by showcasing new developments, destinations, offers and providing a platform for companies to network and do business.
“We are here to consolidate our visibility to the Middle East market and we hope to maintain our top-of-mind brand status confirmed by the recent milestone in which we were named the third must-visit destination in the world (by international travel guide, Lonely Planet),” said ZTA head of corporate affairs Godfrey Koti.
“The ATM gives us an opportunity to rebuild the confidence in destination Zimbabwe and while we are here we seek to establish strategic partnerships with leading tourism operatives who are promoting packages to Southern Africa and to the continent at large.”
He added that the expanded Victoria Falls International Airport and Bulawayo’s Joshua Nqabuko International Airport in have also opened more access to international source markets as most airlines flying into Zimbabwe enjoy worldwide connectivity with the Dubai International Airport.