The Sunday News
HOLIDAY makers are set to enjoy an easy guide into the country’s tourism destinations and leisure activities following the launch of a mobile application, as the tourism and hospitality sector migrates to digital marketing.
The new App, Accoleisure, is aimed at bringing the country’s sought after destinations to the digital age.
In an interview, product development manager at Accoleisure Mr Elisha Chitate said tech savvy domestic and international tourists have been offered a platform to search for accommodation, interact with tourism operators and service providers as well.
“This is a first of its kind in Zimbabwe because Accoleisure does not require data and connects all key stakeholders in the tourism industry at a single platform. Essentially the App is a step in the right direction in promoting our tourism destinations in the digital arena.
“Simply put, Accoleisure is more like your normal mobile Apps. It provides the tourism sector with relevant details of tourism operators and service providers. Tourists can search for hotels, tourism facilities, transport, game parks, restaurants and entertainment events,” he said.
Mr Chitate said marketing tourism online was growing rapidly and there was a need for operators to up their game.
“We live in a fast paced business world and as such our industry has to adapt and improve the way we operate. That’s the reason Accoleisure was designed. We are bringing Zimbabwe closer to the world.
“Accoleisure is going to be the sought after platform and locals have to embrace it. It is free as users do all searches, everything offline. For the international visitor there are no roaming charges but if users want to make a reservation or chat online to the service providers and establishments listed, then roaming charges would apply.”
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke has challenged local companies to market their tourism packages online. The ZTA boss underscored that the Internet has created a new economy. He said the industry was now compelled to go digital as the local players are lagging on Internet presence.
“Approximately 63 percent regional travellers make their bookings online so you find that compared to our 34 percent we still have a lot of work to do.
“It is clear that half the world’s population can make an online booking for a holiday in any part of the globe. The onus is now on us to tap into that low hanging market,” said Mr Kaseke.
A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-funded research on tourism and the Internet gave compelling insights on that more than half of the world’s population has access to smartphones, which is driving at least 50 percent of web traffic.
It is estimated that 85 percent of tourists use mobile platforms on leisure tours worldwide.
Tourism applications are ranked seventh in the most downloaded platforms.