Zimbabwe is targeting 40,000 tourists from Belgium, Luxemburg and Netherlands annually, up from around 14,000 currently, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has said.
ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke told a press conference today that the country will use its participation at Vakantiebeurs 2015 – a five-day tourism and leisure fair in the Netherlands — to re-engage tourists from the Benelux market (comprising of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg) in a bid to reach previous heights of arrivals from the region.
“At our peak in 1999 we used to have 39 800 tourists from the Benelux market but this number drastically declined afterwards to around 14 000 per year. However, I would like to thank the government of Netherlands for allowing us to participate in this market again,” he said.
The Dutch Embassy has financed the ZTA’s participation at the biggest and most established tourism fair in the Benelux area in the Netherlands from January 11-18, 2015.
Netherlands ambassador to Zimbabwe Gera Sneller, who also addressed the media along with Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi, said the Dutch Embassy was also financing the first year of a three year Memorandum of Understanding between ZTA and Aviareps – a Dutch aviation and tourism representation company, for representation of ZTA within the Benelux market.
“The Dutch embassy recognizes and supports ZTA’s efforts to unlock tourism and investment opportunities from the Benelux market,” she said.
Mzembi, however, said the move by Netherlands will help with the development of the local tourism industry.
“The benevolent gesture comes at an opportune time for Zimbabwe to regain its lost market share in the Benelux market and most importantly the European market,” he said.
The Benelux make up a major tourist market for Zimbabwe dating back to the 80s.
“Benelux currently contributes nine percent of all arrivals from Europe and is the fourth largest contributor of arrivals from Europe after the UK, Germany and France,” said Mzembi.
The Tourism minister, however, said there was need to address pricing on the local market in line with international trends to attract foreign tourists.
“We have a lot of work we need to do to make our destination competitive. It’s not enough to market our destination and what we have, but we also have to make the products competitive,” he said.
Mzembi added that Zimbabwe is targeting to have five million visitors into the country and earn $5 billion in revenue by 2020.- The Source