March 21, 2023

Zimbabwe: Day, Week Group Trips – Boon for Domestic Tourism

4 min read

Leave nothing, but footprints, take nothing but photos, kill nothing, but time – this sounds familiar for those that enjoy exploring.

Of course, some have described the world as a book were those who do not travel read only one page.

Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage and is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

Breath taking scenery, wild, unspoilt and highly acclaimed national parks, unique flora and fauna, all these things are found in the book called Zimbabwe.

Fortunately, Zimbabweans have realised the importance of embracing domestic tourism.

Now you can find group travels!, solo travel enthusiasts! – indeed travel brings a therapy.

Local companies have started to tap into the local tourism business with one such example, Pamushana Africa Group, coming up with “travel-tainment”, an innovation which has seen the company expand into the tourism sector.

Through “travel-tainment” they offer full package trips for locals to explore even some of the untapped tourism destinations in the country.

The packages being offered include day trips or even weeks with travellers provided with transport facilities, beverages in transit and all bookings being done by companies.

What one simply need is being there.

Interestingly, also people are spoilt with options including a trip for couples only, old age, youths or even singles, leaving no one behind in the process.

Thanks to the Second Republic, the tourism sector has embarked on an aggressive domestic tourism marketing drive following the launch of the ZimBho campaign in 2020, which has helped a lot to improve domestic travel.

The recovery is being enhanced by improved accessibility of tourism products and destination route connectivity in terms of domestic and international transportation.

Our news crew caught up with Pamushana Africa Group which has been in operation over the past years.

“When we started the tourism journey, we were doing day trips, that is taking people mainly to resort areas which are reachable within a day,” said Mr Hardlife Chipika.

He said tourism was previously regarded as a luxury in Zimbabwe and most of resorts’ pricing in terms of accommodation were viewed as high, scaring away potential local tourists.

“It is a plea to the Minister of Tourism if they can give a concession or they can give incentives we need to promote the domestic tourism. We also need grants from the Government,” said Mr Chipika.

“Our packages are inclusive, we try by all means to incorporate main activities which are done at the resort places. Our first day trip was in Nyanga in 2016, we went with 10 buses and we were looking at about 150 travellers.”

Mr Chipika said they started in the transport sector in 2016, but later diversified into tourism promotion.

“We saw an opportunity where people were saying they wanted to go to places, spend some nights,” he said.

“Through this we then started doing the weekends trips.

“We have been going around the country even to some of the unheralded tourism destinations and the usual ones. The country has so much to offer in terms of tourism and we are glad people are coming in numbers.”

Mr Chipika said for the past two years they had broadened the tourism landscape, not only restricting themselves to Zimbabwe, but doing international destinations to places like Dubai.

“Our last trip in Dubai was in August 2022 which is our 5th trip,” he said.

“We have been to Cape town, we have been to Zanzibar, we now have a broader scope in terms of our package.”

Despite setbacks suffered under the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s tourism sector is on an unprecedented growth trajectory.

Bonga Travel and Financial Services, a stop enterprise that offers the complete range of travel related services also recorded a brisk business during the festive season.

Mrs Tryphine Mapundu, who operates as a Bonga travel agent, said she was excited that the industry was coming to life.

“Our industry was affected during the time of Covid-19 pandemic and starting to pick up and there is a great change and people are starting to travel now because of the better restrictions,” she said.

Mrs Mapundu said there was need to aggressively promote domestic tourism.

“There is a lot of marketing that we still have to do in order to promote local tourism,” she said. “There are a lot of beautiful places in Zimbabwe and its the outside people who enjoy more than the local people.”

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) head of corporate affairs, Mr Godfrey Koti, said the sector was on an unprecedented growth trajectory.

“Destination Zimbabwe has seen a significant increase in business with occupancy rates raising significantly in 2022,” he said.

“A massive 96 percent increase in domestic entries into national parks was recorded in 2022 and in addition, overseas arrivals also increased by 256 percent and there was a 130 percent increase in visitors from Africa.”

As a result, Mr Koti said destination Zimbabwe received approximately US$600 million compared to US$244 million in the same period in 2021, while US$300 million was poured on investment in tourism.

Most of accommodation facilities were fully booked in key destinations during the just-ended festive season.

“All regions were well booked throughout the country,” said Mr Koti.

“We had an average of 86 percent occupancy rate and are looking for a better 2023. We hope to maximise on more international conferences such as the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (ICASA) which is coming to Zimbabwe soon.”

The first nine months of 2022 saw a 165 percent rise in tourist arrivals to 693 498 from 261 415 in 2021.

This is more than double the international arrivals received in the first nine months of 2021 which was 164 062.

The first nine months of 2022 saw a 165 percent rise in tourist arrivals to 693 498 from 261 415 in 2021.

This is more than double the international arrivals received in the first nine months of 2021, which was 164 062.

By The Herald.

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