Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has received a Europe Business Assembly (EBA) award for demonstrating a high performance culture and effectiveness in marketing the country as a favorable tourists destination.
The award was received by the Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe to France, Rudo Chitiga on behalf of the ZTA and its Chief Executive Officer, Karikoga Kaseke.
In recognition of the award, Kaseke said it comes at a time the authority has been trying to market the brand Zimbabwe despite the negative perception of the country.
Kaseke said his organisation has adopted several strategies to put Zimbabwe tourism on the global map and was overjoyed that such efforts are paying dividends.
“When we do our work, little do we realize that even the outside world will be observing us just as much as our principals. We are extremely humbled by this development and especially coming from a European based organisation. The award is a serious endorsement of our destination and will assist us in our marketing efforts,” said Kaseke.
Tourists arrivals in the country hit a snag at the turn of the millennium as Western visitors shunned the country in the wake of the highly disputed land reform and some waves of violence which ensued.
However, there has been a steady but slow increase of tourists’ arrivals from the Western world over the past few years.
ZTA realized how festivals and mega events contributed to the marketing efforts of destinations such as Brazil and the Caribbean countries, Seychelles, South Africa and many others, a decision which introduced the carnival concept to Zimbabwe, which was a foreign idea.
“Having realized how difficult it was to market and promote destination Zimbabwe given the perceptions that exist in the different markets, my organisation had to be more imaginative and innovative and come up with strategies that are outside the usual to market the destination.
“This is how we came up with such programmes as the perception management and destination image transformation programmes, which through our leadership as an NTO were embraced by the entire nation and adopted by many a destination as effective marketing tools,” he noted.
The 2017 edition of the Harare International Carnival raised the bar for the events industry in Zimbabwe through the high technology used at the event.