Embrace technology, digitise, Mohadi urges tourism sector

The tourism sector must embrace technology and digitise operations in line with international trends to be competitive as well as meaningfully contribute to economic transformation.

Officially opening the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) convention in Victoria Falls, Acting President Kembo Mohadi said digitising the tourism sector will unlock a cross section of opportunities and increase arrivals and receipts.

Tourism is among the four key economic enablers and engines for development alongside agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors.

“Effectively utilising information communication technologies will make us more competitive and create an easier means by which travellers can find out about Zimbabwe, make bookings for accommodation and enjoy our tourism.

“The world has been made smaller and closer because of digitisation and it’s prudent therefore that this sector embraces these innovations yet without losing the identity of our unique culture and heritage. It’s the latter that makes Zimbabwe a unique tourist destination,” he said.

Acting President Mohadi said the tourism industry is on a recovery path with a total of 2 422 930 arrivals in 2017 which is a 12 percent increase from the 2 167 686 recorded in 2016.

Victoria Falls has been experiencing unprecedented figures since the start of the year owing to renewed interest in visiting the country following the coming in of the new political administration.

The country’s prime resort town alone recorded an increase of between 22 and 24 percent in room occupancies in January and February, while 18 properties were built in the last few years giving a 20 percent improvement in tourism business.

The Acting President said: “I’m convinced that if we digitise our tourism sector these figures can be surpassed, as this year’s tourism theme emphasises the importance of digital transformation in the tourism and hospitality industry.

“The positive effects of tourism in this country’s economy should include the growth and development of various industries directly linked to a healthy tourism industry such as transportation, construction, wildlife, creative and cultural industries”.

Acting President Mohadi said Government is committed to supporting tourism in collaboration with all other stakeholders.

“Further, we remain committed to create a reliable and consistent national air service. We will continue to create one stop border posts that will operate efficiently and provide speedy, friendly service to all users,” he said.

Acting President Mohadi challenged the tourism industry to significantly contribute towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by promoting an inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full employment and decent work for all.

In addition, he said, the industry should formulate and implement policies that promote local culture and products all in the interest of transforming the economy.

Tourism players and operators as well as heads of various Government departments attended the convention which continues today with the World Tourism Day celebrations in Victoria Falls.



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