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Digital Advances Driving Transformation in Zimbabwe Tourism

TOURISM without technology is like a bus without wheels it cannot go anywhere. The country’s tourism landscape is set to go on a bounce when digital technology opportunities will be highlighted during the Tourism Week 2018.

 

The Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe will seek to further raise awareness about the importance of digital technologies in tourism, during the sector’s Convention.

The celebration will be observed from September 25 -28, under the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Tourism Day on September 27 under the theme “Tourism and the Digital Transformation”.

“On the 27th of September 2018, Zimbabwe will join the rest of the world in commemorating the World Tourism Day. The theme of this year is “Tourism and the Digital Transformation” which seeks to emphasize on the opportunities provided to tourism, by technological advances including big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital platforms, on the map of sustainable development.”

“ In line with the guidance of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) the Government sees digital advances and innovation as part of the solution to the challenge of marrying continued growth with a more sustainable and responsible tourism sector,” said Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Permanent Secretary Dr. T Chitepo, Ms. Chitepo at a press briefing yesterday.

“The World Tourism Day celebration was started by the United Nations World Tourism Organisations in the year 1980. This international day seeks to address global challenges outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals and to highlight the contribution the tourism industry can make in reaching these goals,” she added.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, the marketing arm of the country’s tourism, and by extension the Ministry of Tourism, recognizes the value of technology and the potential positive impact it can have on the tourism and at large, development of the nation.

Instead of being terrified about the change, it has opted to use the modern technology where traveler depends heavily on. This is an opportunity to engage them and reach a larger segment of the travel market.

According to the UNWTO, from 2016 to 2025, digitalization in aviation, travel and tourism is expected to: create up to US$ 305 billion of value for the sector through increased profitability; and migrate US$ 100 billion of value from traditional players to new competitors. Their studies also predict that it will generate benefits valued at US$ 700 billion for customers and wider society through a reduced environmental footprint, improved safety and security, and cost and time savings.

Tourism statistics have shown an upsurge in inbound tourism and this can also be attributed to the adoption of digital transformation. As much Zimbabwe has been marred by both local and international media, digital platforms has helped to not only do destination marketing but also do online reputation management. This has helped to set the record straight and yield traction from source markets as well as improving domestic tourism.

“In 2017, the country received a total of 2 422 930 tourist arrivals which represents a 12 percent increase from the 2 167 686 tourists received in 2016,” said Vice President Chiwenga in his keynote speech at the recent launch of the Tourism Master Plan.

It promises to be an engaging week, with a series of activities highlighting the work the Ministry and its agencies are doing, to better utilize technology to create greater inclusion in the industry; improve resource management and data collection; and attract more visitors to the country. For the Tourism Month Celebrations the slate of activities include the Africa Youth in Tourism Conference 19-23, a symposium at Lupane State University on the 24th, 1st Zimbabwe/Zambia Joint Tourism Technical Committee Meeting 23-24 September, Tourism Convention from 25th to 28th with a day trip to Chobe and have lunch in Botswana, and return trip to see the Victoria Falls and have dinner in Zimbabwe.

 

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