The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
AS Zimbabwe’s tourism sector tries to get back on its feet, Government will prioritise the revival of festivals like Intwasa, Boli Mhlangulen and Nyami Nyami in a bid to promote domestic tourism.
The three festivals are held in Bulawayo, Chiredzi and Kariba respectively. Like other players in the arts, festivals have had a rough 2020, with some cancelling completely while a few others have gone virtual.
Zimbabwe’s tourism industry, like others around the globe, has taken a hit with flights grounded and international travel curtailed as countries try to curb the spread of Covid-19.
As the world opens up gradually, tourism authorities around the world are looking at ways to entice their own populations to visit popular local attractions.
Speaking in Parliament last week, the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Mangaliso Ndlovu said that the three festivals will be vital in attempts to lure the domestic tourist.
“Revival of Local Festivals will also go a long way in promoting domestic tourism. My Ministry together with other stakeholders, has been promoting and reviving such festivals as the Boli Mhlangulen in Chiredzi, Intwasa in Bulawayo and the Nyami Nyami Festivals in Kariba, among others.
“These mainly showcase and promote local cultures through music, dance and our local cuisine. As people travel for such festivals, it helps promote domestic tourism,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu said his ministry was also devising digital strategies to market the country’s major tourist destinations.
“We are also promoting digital content creation so that we capture numerous tourist attractions and experiences throughout the country including those that are relatively unknown to communicate on various social media platforms and improve awareness of tourism products,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu also said that over the next month, the Ministry would be launching various social media campaigns that were meant to sale the beauty of Zimbabwe to locals that have never fully appreciated what is on their doorstep.
“The Ministry, through its parastatal, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority will, in the next coming month, launch the Domestic Tourism Campaign ZIMbho (#vakatsha) which seeks to revive domestic travel in and around the country.
“Other various hashtags (#knowyourZimbabwe #visitZimbabwe) are also being carried out on the Tourism Lookout show hosted by the ZTA where we profile various tourism destinations around the country to stimulate local travel,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu said the Ministry was in the process of deploying tourism officers from the Ministry to all provinces to champion this cause and also to promote tourism development throughout the country.
Minister Ndlovu also said before Covid-19 hit the country, his Ministry had already started reviving Community Based Tourism Enterprises (CBTEs) which thrive around packaging and promoting our culture, norms and cuisines as tourist attractions.
“This preserves our culture and heritage while allowing communities to be producers of tourism products and earn a living out of tourism. I can tell you of KoMpisi Village in Victoria Falls where schools take their learners to see the traditional ways of doing things which are no longer used these days.
“We are reviving CBTEs throughout the country with international Cooperating Partners such as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),” he said.