ZTA, Emirates seal lucrative tourism deal Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer, Ms Winnie Muchanyuka, exchanges documents with Emirates senior vice president Commercial Operations for Africa, Mr Badr Abbas (second from right) after signing a Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Mr Lovemore Mazemo (left).

Herald Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with global aviation giant, Emirates Airlines, which is expected to boost tourist traffic into the country, on the back of the airline’s extensive global network.

The MoU was signed by the airline’s senior vice president commercial operations for Africa, Badr Abbas, and ZTA’s chief executive Ms Winnie Muchanyuka. 

Also present at the signing ceremony was Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Mr Lovemore Mazemo and the president of the Hotel Association of Zimbabwe and General Manager of Victoria Falls Hotel, Mr Farai Chimba.

Under the agreement, Emirates, along with the ZTA, will set in motion a range of joint marketing efforts that include tourism promotions, organising familiarisation trips for trade and media, among other activities. Both parties will also explore opportunities for joint advertising campaigns in key markets.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Badr Abbas said the aviation giant was committed to promoting destination Zimbabwe. 

“The MoU signed today reflects Emirates’ confidence in the potential and attractiveness of Zimbabwe as an emerging destination that awaits exploration.

“Home to one of the natural Seven Wonders of the World, breath-taking landscapes and glorious historical sites, Emirates says it looks forward to supporting the ZTA in attracting more tourists to the country and showcase its uniqueness and vast array of distinctive experiences.

“We aim to play a considerable role in raising the profile of Zimbabwe through our strong global network,” he said.

Ms Muchanyuka said they were confident that the partnership would culminate into increased tourist traffic into Zimbabwe.

“Collaboration is the key to success in tourism, and only by close collaboration can that path be assured of success.

“Zimbabwe is confident that once we implement the agreement, it will create a platform for a progressive increase of arrivals into the country,” she said.

She said both ZTA and Emirates airlines would broaden their engagements through smart initiatives.

“We are excited to see Emirates’ commitment to strengthening their relations with destination Zimbabwe and are confident that this will bring forth tangible results,” said Ms Muchanyuka.

In an interview, Mr Chimba said the MoU would unlock Zimbabwe’s potential to attract tourists particularly in the Middle East.

“Emirates is the leading airline and being able to have signages that have come out of this show is certainly testament of the hard work that has been done to grow our destination and move it towards a US$5 billion economy,” he said.

Mr Chimba said by virtue of the agreement, more opportunities for the tourism sector would be availed. 

In a separate interview, president of the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe, Mr Wengai Nhau, said the MoU was a welcome development which would spur the sector’s growth.

“The agreement is very important because Dubai is one of the fastest growing emerging markets and the MoU with Emirates will further our tourism standing in terms of arrivals and foreign currency receipts among other areas,” he said.

Emirates started operations to Zimbabwe in September 2012 with five weekly flights. It has steadily grown the route in line with increasing customer demand and operates a daily service to Harare with seven flights a week.

Since the start of its operations, Emirates has driven inbound traffic to Zimbabwe from the Middle East, points in Europe, Australia, and the US.

The airline’s code-share partnerships with Airlink and South African Airways further provide more choice and connectivity to passengers and drive inbound visitors to domestic points in Zimbabwe like Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.

Endowed with both natural and man-made attractions such as the Mighty Victoria Falls, Matopo Hills, Lake Kariba, wildlife at Hwange, Great Zimbabwe Monuments, and Gonarezhou National Parks, Zimbabwe is a sought after destination offering leisure activities for tourists.

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