Zimbabwean tourist destinations remain beyond the reach of potential local tourists as they are too expensive and has a negative impact of the growth of the tourism sector, a cabinet has said.
Briefing journalists , Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Prisca Mupfumira said domestic tourism has become a new frontier in growing the gains of tourism in any destination but Zimbabwe continues to suffer from low domestic tourists due to expensive packages offered by service providers.
It offers a fall back plan for any destination’s tourism and also acts as a magnet for international tourism as tourists frequently go were the locals like to go.
“Zimbabwe has given limited recognition to the very important contribution of the Domestic Tourism Market to the growth and development of the economy.
“Whilst we acknowledge that the disposable income of our people is very low, it is disheartening to note that our attractions are out of reach to residents where these attractions are located. The locals should have an opportunity to at least experience tourism products within their vicinity.
“Domestic Tourism should be the bed rock of a sustainable tourism industry as it is not affected by the external environment associated with foreign tourist markets. Countries with successful tourism industries have vibrant domestic tourism segment,” said Mupfumira.
She said in recognition of the above, he Ministry will be embarking on a Domestic Tourism Campaign within the 100 days Action Plan framework as set out by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The campaign will emphasize on developing a culture of tourism among locals and a better understanding of what the country has to offer.
The main objectives of the Domestic Tourism Campaign are to create and intensify awareness of what the country has to offer to the Domestic Tourism Market , resuscitate at least ten Visitor Information Centres throughout the country ,Initiate affordable rates of tourism products and services to the local market and coordinate the development of affordable domestic packages.
Coming closer home, South Africa developed the Sho’t left domestic marketing campaign in 2013 to encourage domestic travel.
The campaign’s ideals were that there was always a first time to experience something new and that every weekend provided an opportunity to do something that had never been done before.
In 2016 domestic tourism generated 43million trips contributing R63billion ($5.14billion) according to StatsSA. Currently domestic tourism contributes 73% of tourism in South Africa.