ZIMBABWE continues to be the destination of choice in the world despite negative images of the country portrayed by its
detractors, Acting Tourism and Hospitality Minister Webster Shamu has said.
Minister Shamu was speaking during the Cresta Hotels long service awards in Harare yesterday where he was the guest of honour.
He urged players in the tourism and hospitality industry to relentlessly pursue aggressive marketing and publicity efforts that showcase the country as a world of wonders.
"As you all know this is one industry which is on growth trajectory throughout the world and I dare say, we as a country are now active players.
"We are catching up unlike in the past when we were reduced to mere spectators," he said.
He said tourist arrivals had risen from 2 million in 2009 to over 2,2 million last year, despite the economic challenges facing the country.
"This is no mean feat, considering that we were in as almost a pariah state, shunned by visitors because of serious negative images portrayed by those who would not want to see us succeed," he said.
Minister Shamu emphasised the need to sharpen skills and quality of service.
"Yes, we have won awards and yes, we have taken part in major international fairs and exhibitions. But a lot more still needs to be done on the ground.
"Experience, by its very definition, means proficiency and efficiency at what you do because you have been doing it for a long time," he said.
Minister Shamu added that the awards would go a long way in motivating the workers.
He reminded the workers to maintain the good standards they have exhibited in the past.
He reiterated the Government appreciated the investment and refurbishment programmes being made by Cresta in the tourism sector.