From Fortious Nhambura in UTRECHT, The Netherlands
Zimbabwe has intensified efforts to regain its lost share of international tourist arrivals from The Netherlands and the entire Benelux region, with a powerful presentation at the just-ended Vakantiebeurs Tourism Fair being held here.The presentation at the largest tourism extravaganza in the Benelux region, which includes The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, and the third largest in Europe, showcased the country as one of the best tourist destination in the world.
The Vakantiebeurs Holiday Fair ran from January 13 to 18 and has participation from across the world.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said the return of Zimbabwe at the showcase since the late 1990s presented an opportunity to increase the country’s tourist arrivals from the region.
“This is a comeback for Zimbabwe,” he said. “Indeed, a comeback as the country was participating at the show regularly in the 1990s.
“The years that the country has not been participating at this travel and tourism showcase have been a lost opportunity for Zimbabwe.
We have lost quite a lot in terms of Benelux market share and we need to regain lost ground.”
At its peak, the Benelux market contributed up to nine percent of Zimbabwe international tourist arrivals, but the figure has dropped to below one percent.
“This shows that if we are to regain our market we need to start taking seriously participation at tourism shows like these,” said Mr Kaseke.
“We can’t regain our market if we remain at home. This is indeed the beginning of real, real efforts to market ourselves in the region.” Mr Kaseke thanked the Government of The Netherlands for sponsoring Zimbabwe’s participation at the fair.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry deputy minister Cde Walter Kanhanga said the showcase presented Zimbabwe with an opportunity to re-engage with the country and show the varied tourist products the country has to offer to European and Dutch markets.
“Netherlands has presented the hand of re-engagement and we need to take it seriously,” he said.