Zimbabwe continues to receive endorsements from many players across the globe as a safe and must visit destination. Lonely Planet, itself a world reputable player in tourism analysis and projections provided evidence of positive destination reviews from the international community, ranking Zimbabwe as “3rd Best in the top 10 countries to visit in 2019.
In addition, National Geographic Traveler, one of the world’s leading magazines, listed Zimbabwe as one of the 19 must-see destinations in the world in 2019. It was placed at number 9, the highest ranking for any African country. Setouchi in Japan topped the list with the next African country being Eritrea at number 12, followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa at 13 and Uganda at 16.
Continuing on this positive trend to improve its competitiveness, destination Zimbabwe yesterday launched a mobile application travel guide, the Accoleisure app (short for Accommodation and Leisure), which captures the country’s premier leisure spots and accommodation facilities, in a bid to enhance tourist experience to plan their visits to the country.
Speaking at the the press briefing at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry , Honorable Prisca Mupfumira, described the development as a milestone in the Tourism Digital Space.
“I am pleased that as a country we have taken positive strides to embrace ICTs in order to position the tourism sector to effectively contribute towards the National Vision as enunciated by His Excellency the President, Cde E.D Mnangagwa that of becoming a prosperous middle income country by 2030,” she said.
“The digital revolution has changed the way destinations are marketed across the globe. Tourists are better connected now than ever before and this has put increasing demand on the need to provide high quality content to satisfy the needs of these potential tourists. Online statistics have shown that globally, tourists are now using smartphones to explore destinations and products,” she added.
Minister Mupfumira further explained the importance of mobile apps to the tourism industry, as currently mobile apps account for 37% of travelers shopping for flights and 43% for accommodation. It has also been noted that 90% of all travel is searched online and travel decisions are based on reviews of other travelers.
“In light of these developments ladies and gentlemen, it is important for Zimbabwe as a destination to have its own mobile application showcasing tourism products and services. I applaud the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and its technology partner AccoLeisure Pvt Ltd for developing the Zimbabwe Travel Guide,” she said.
“This application sets out to bridge the information gap between tourists and service providers and will go a long way in making Zimbabwe facilities visible to the world all the time,” Mupfumira explained.
The AccoLeisure app provides full contact details of formally registered tour operators and service providers to both local and foreign tourists. The app has an activity section which lists a variety of adventures such as game drives, Adrenalin activities, hideouts and conservation. Also it lists upcoming events, restaurants, accommodation facilities across the country with full prices and details.
Zimbabwe is richly endowed with tourism attractions but these have remained unknown. Full utilization of the ICTs will transform tourism information access and in the process increase tourism arrivals.