Home » Business » ZIMBABWEAN TOURISM MINISTER CALLS FOR AFRICAN COUNTRIES TO SELL POSITIVE IMAGE

Zimbabwe's Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Dr Walter Mzembi, has urged African countries to strive at selling a positive image of the continent and demystify misconceptions communicated to the markets by some Western media which has affected tourist arrivals.

Over the years, Brand Africa has been associated with poverty, hunger, strife, war, starvation and more broadly the continent has had to cope with the multiple challenges of security and social cohesion, he said in a lecture here Monday for armed forces chiefs from across Africa attending a Staff Course at the Zimbabwe Defence College.

He said his aim was to build a 5.0 billion US dollars a year tourism economy by 2020 through enhanced arrivals, revenue generation, incentives and by plugging leakages.

Dr Mzembi called on military personnel from across Africa to isolate conflict and sell positive images of their respective countries in order to boost tourism on the continent. "It is the peace bridge that keeps people connected and tourism should facilitate peace rather than create conflict," he said.

"The Security Cluster should always work to guarantee peace for tourism and should not expect to receive angels at our ports of entry or seek to close African destinations."

He said African tourism was lagging behind with almost every country having a market share of only 2.0 percent save for Morocco and South Africa. "Africa needs to address its underdeveloped tourism infrastructure, poor intra-African air connectivity, the absence of a strategically integrated product development and marketing, visa restrictions and poor Treasury support of tourism on the continent," he said.

"The tourism industry in Zimbabwe is projected to lead economic growth in the 2015/16 season by 4.1 per cent ahead of other economic pillars such as mining, agriculture and manufacturing."

International arrivals in 2015 clocked 1.2 billion, contributing slightly over 9.0 per cent (7.0 trillion USD) to the global gross domestic product (GDP). The industry is the second biggest employer in Zimbabwe, apart from the civil service, employing more than 300,000 people directly or indirectly.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.

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