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Bulawayo tourism ready for rebound

by Staff reporter
13 Jun 2022 at 06:44hrs | Views
BULAWAYO remains a favourable and safe tourism destination with various untapped attraction sites and unique offerings, a local industry operator has said.

Speaking on the sidelines of a post-Covid-19 Tourism Impact Assessment stakeholders consultation workshop in Bulawayo last Friday, Entabeni Lodge director, Mrs Faith Makamure said the city is ready for a rebound.

"People should now come out of that cocoon of fear and start now travelling to tourist destinations.

"Bulawayo should now be active in the tourism sector.

We must host functions.

The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair was successful and we had no fatalities (Covid-19-induced), so Bulawayo is ready to go, we are a safe destination."

The sector has embarked on an aggressive domestic tourism marketing drive following the launch of the ZimBho campaign in 2020, which has helped improve domestic travel.

Mrs Makamure said as an operator she was appealing to the Government to support emerging tourism players financially to recover from the Covid-19 impact.

"The pandemic came as a shock to everyone, business sector included.

The Government and everyone were not prepared for it and we lost a lot of business," she said.

"Since we have seen the pandemic's impact, we are asking the Government to prepare for pandemics so that we can be able to keep the country afloat economically.

"Tourism is a major foreign currency earner.

We are operating an international business and we expect the Government to come up with policies and clear procedures."

When the pandemic first struck, Mrs Makamure said, the sector did not have adequate protective clothing and sanitisers.

She said the Government in collaboration with universities should capacitate innovative hubs to manufacture protective clothing and other chemicals needed in times of pandemics.

The Treasury allocated $5,2 billion towards infrastructural development and an additional $2 billion towards research and innovation in the 2022 National Budget to the institutions of higher learning.

The tourism industry recovery is being enhanced by improved accessibility of tourism products and destination route connectivity in terms of domestic and international transportation.

At the height of the pandemic, the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and the Midlands State University (MSU) started manufacturing sanitisers and masks as part of the institutions of higher learning's contribution to the fight against Covid-19.

During the stakeholders' meeting, several players said there was a need to continuously upgrade the road network leading to tourism facilities.

They said there was an urgent need to fully make use of information and technology tools to market various tourism products on different media platforms.

Source - The Chronicle