Tourism and Hospitality Minister, Priscah Mupfumira and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Chief Executive, Karikoga Kaseke Thursday gave two different views regarding the state of the country’s domestic tourism.
The differences appeared to expose the discord between government ministers and quasi-State institutions.
ZTA is a statutory corporate entity directly under the tourism ministry and is responsible for promotion, planning and development, research and the enforcement of standards and services.
While Mpfumira, who was launching the Domestic Tourism Campaign aimed at increasing tourism activity locals, acknowledged the sector had been characterized by low participation of Zimbabweans, Kaseke insisted that domestic tourism accounted for 81 percent of tourism in the country.
In neighbouring South Africa, domestic tourism accounts for 73 percent of tourism in the country, translating to USD5.1 billion (R63 billion).
Asked how much Zimbabwe’s domestic tourism was contributing in percentage terms, Kaseke said; “We don’t have the 2017 statistics but by end of 2016, domestic tourism was 81 percent and 19 percent international.”
But the tourism minister, who was appointed to the portfolio last month after the change of guard in government, said Zimbabwe had emphasized on regional and international tourism at the expense of domestic tourism.
“We don’t have accurate statistics on domestic tourism. I don’t want to argue with him (Kaseke); the statistics are not even available, but it is not the 81 percent said by Kaseke,” she said.
The minister said ZTA should get Zimbabweans to understand the problems the country had and communicate with them to understand the market.
Mupfumira said the Domestic Tourism Campaign would entail publicizing the various heritage sites in the country to local communities and making sure Zimbabweans sample the available products so they could also act as tourism ambassadors.
“The campaign will emphasize on developing a culture of tourism among locals and better understanding of what the country has to offer.
“We have been focusing on certain areas such as the Victoria Falls and Eastern Highlands, but we are saying tourism should be in the provinces where we should have cultural, religious and historical tourism.”
Mupfumira noted that a big number of Zimbabweans travelled outside the country for their holidays, adding although it was good, she would encourage people to take holidays at home before considering going to leisure destinations outside the country.