Government has urged the media to promote tourism and desist from writing derogatory stories that impact negatively on the nation’s international image.
This comes after Holiday Inn Harare evacuated all its guests on Sunday after a receptionist received an anonymous call claiming a bomb had been planted in one of the hotel rooms.
The hotel was temporarily sealed off as police bomb squad teams were dispatched to inspect the rooms.
In an interview yesterday, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi said the media should adopt a culture of positively marketing the Zimbabwean brand internationally.
“We have an outstanding brand Zimbabwe that we should be promoting hence we should never give legitimacy to a bomb scare,” he said.
“The fact that we have given it prominence in the papers shows that we are not clear as to what our national interests are when it comes to promoting brand Zimbabwe.”
Minister Mzembi said the media should avoid causing alarm and despondency in the country.
“We do not give legitimacy to a scare in national papers, but this should rather unite us in protecting a brand that we have been working so hard to promote. Why undermine a brand that we are trying to build over a scare?” he said.
“It is irresponsible for the media to give legitimacy to a scare. There is a huge problem when a whole nation is shaken by something as little as a hoax. It is just a phantom that is neither here nor there and we cannot lose sleep over it.”
Minister Mzembi said the brand Zimbabwe had to be protected for enhanced economic turnaround.
“We also cannot sacrifice our brand over something that is not there. We are thriving to support and promote Zimbabwe’s tourism brand and reports of the scare in papers do not help the situation as it does more harm than good to our tourism sector,” he said.
Hotel management officials rubbished the issue saying it was nothing, but a security threatening hoax to disrupt its business.