with Burzil Dube
“And this has come to pass.” Those familiar with this biblical lexicon might be of the opinion that Yours Truly is about to conduct another sermon where chastisement takes centre stage to those who are against the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Yours Truly, who two weeks ago in a soothsaying ‘trance’ predicted that opening of beerhalls was nigh and it could be a matter of time before higher authorities give the green light to the imbibing public to enjoy wise waters in a conditional manner.
However, opening of such places came with an easy but painful price-no full vaccination, no entry. And this has come to pass as predicted by none other than the proprietor of this column who has in the past been on a crusade of having free Covid-19 travelling and touring escapades.
Talking of travelling and touring, Yours Truly is excited that the reopening of pubs and other drinking places, could result in gradual resuscitation of the tourism sector even though some ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still being felt. This calls for collective efforts from all and sundry on ensuring that the hospitality industry is able to rise like the proverbial Phoenix.
Across the border in Zambia, authorities have embarked on a vigorous domestic tourism campaign as part of efforts to lure local participation in numerous resorts and other places of interest which in the past were usually frequented by foreign visitors.
The same is also being done locally where the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is reported to have embarked on a similar programme even though the situation on the ground is not convincing enough.
The country is now entering the festive season period, surprisingly as alluded in the above paragraph, there is nothing from key tourism players to try and entice locals for them among to among guests during this particular time.
Last year, a local tourism promotion initiative dubbed Zimbho#IZim Yami#Vakatsha was launched by government amid fanfare as part of efforts of luring locals to visit the country’s tourist attractions at a discount.
It was also an initial step in promoting local tourism services and products whose thrust was to make such type of visitors be part of domestic tourist ambassadors. The other thrust was maintenance of the value chain and assistance on building national pride while promoting understanding among locals.
An ambitious target of US$5 billion tourism economy has been projected for 2025. However, since the launch of the programme last year, there has not been much activity from the organisations meant to drive the whole exercise.
However, it is essential to also cater for the needs of foreign tourists as Covid-19 cases seem to be on a gradual decline and this could be a harbinger of an ‘influx’ of visitors from European countries who in the past have proven to be traditional source markets.
This also comes at a time when the United Kingdom has given visitors coming from a number of selected African countries the right to its (UK) borders without prior Covid-19 mandatory quarantine that has been in existence following upsurge of the pandemic.
Zimbabwe is also among the countries, that were also removed from the UK’s red list where visitors from such classified countries to be compulsorily placed in isolation as part of efforts to curb the spread of the deadly pandemic.
Such a move came as relief to our own ZTA which is on a drive to promote the country’s tourism industry which has also been severely disturbed by the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in some resort places lying fallow and desperately in need of life support.
However, such promotional programmes do not need press statements, but have to be followed up through vigorous campaigns both at home and abroad.
It remains to be seen if the country’s tourism promotion body will live up to our expectations as some of our neighbouring have already hit the ground running.
On this one, Yours Truly has some reservations.
Will this dubiety come to pass?
Till we meet again in the next column.
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