BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

ENVIRONMENT minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu has launched a domestic tourism campaign dubbed ZimBho #IzimYami# Vakatsha aimed at encouraging domestic tourism.

Speaking at the launch on Thursday night in Kariba, Ndlovu said the campaign was one of the key pillars of the national tourism recovery and growth strategy launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month.

Zimbabwe has set a target to develop a $5 billion tourism economy by year 2025.

“In the past, before the COVID-19 pandemic, destinations that were deemed successful the world over were supported heavily by their domestic market constituting more than 60% of business,” Ndlvovu said.

“Whilst all destinations compete for international tourism as it brings in new money into the economy (forex), domestic tourism assists in inducing expenditure and circulating wealth in the economy.”

Ndlovu said the launch of the ZimBho #IzimYami# Vakatsha campaign is the first step towards creating demand for local tourism products and services.

“The main objectives of the ZimBho #IzimYami #Vakatsha campaign are creating awareness among locals of all attractions within Zimbabwe, developing a culture of travel among Zimbabweans, increasing domestic travel, increase the contribution of domestic tourism to the economy,” he said.

“This campaign is designed to focus mainly on the domestic market whose contribution to the economic growth and development is yet to be fully realised. Domestic tourists become destination ambassadors, assisting in promoting the destination and also encouraging international tourists who are usually keen to visit areas visited by locals.”

He said domestic tourism further expands the value chain and helps in building national pride at the same time promoting national understanding among locals.

“The campaign brand, is premised on the word Bho, which means good, well or fine. In the tourism context, we are saying Zimbabwe is beautiful and richly endowed Thus Zim Is bhoo,” he said.

“I want to urge locals to think of going on holiday, plan for their holidays, experience our beautiful country, visit known and less known areas and those who do not ordinarily have an interest in travel, to be interested.”

Ndlovu said to support the campaign, government had exempted value added tax on all tourism services for domestic tourists in a bid to reduce the prices being charged for tourism products and services.

Do you have a coronavirus story? You can email us on: news@alphamedia.co.zw