Zimbabwe’s bid to reach out to the country’s diaspora community in the United Kingdom entered its last leg on Wednesday night in Birmingham with Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Priscah Mupfumira encouraging Zimbabweans to take part in development and joint venture initiatives back home.
Mupfumira has been leading the engagement drive modeled around a road show which kicked off in London, straddling Glasglow, Liverpool, Huntingdon and Manchester from July 9 ending Friday.
The platforms have been facilitating an exchange of ideas and resources to spur interest, inspire collaboration, and attract strategic investments in the Zimbabwe tourism sector for its sustainable growth.
“Since the ushering in of the Second Republic, Zimbabwe has been generating renewed confidence and interest throughout the world as a result of a vibrant reengagement strategy and Zimbabwe is open for business mantra,” Mupfumira told delegates in Birmingham, adding:
“To us in tourism, the Zimbabwe Diaspora is a key market sector. Apart from contributing to tourism expenditure you are critical to boosting both domestic and international tourist arrivals. This is especially important given that conservatively we have more than four million of our people in the Diaspora. With the ongoing engagements we firmly believe that going forward the Diaspora should be transformed into a critical source market which can help us in turning around the fortunes of our tourism.”
The United Kingdom, being the top European market in arrivals contribution, remains Zimbabwe’s priority market accounting for 72 029 arrivals.
“We are already working with business partners including airlines that would ease your travel back home to enjoy what the country has to offer,” Mupfumira said.
“This will be made possible, for example, through the introduction of special fares and packages for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. This in our view will not only reduce your travel costs but also make tourism packages relatively affordable.”
The engagements are being held as the tourism sector has recorded an increase in tourist arrivals and growth in the number of investment inquiries from both local and foreign prospective investors.
“The unprecedented growth on the backdrop is riding on a number of factors that include aggressive marketing efforts, political transition ushering in a new political dispensation, harmonised elections, traffic boom, increased air seat capacity and Government’s new marketing mantra Zimbabwe is open for business. Indeed Zimbabwe is open for business,” Mupfumira said.
Mupfumira added that Government through Ease of Doing Business reforms have been repositioning the country’s tourism industry to contribute to the overall economic growth and turnaround.