Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Rekindles Sports Tourism Drive
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has stepped up efforts to tap into sport tourism – one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry which equates to $7.68 billion.ZTA are using the on-going Test series at Harare Sports Club and the Afro-Basket basketball qualifiers to reinforce its drive to encourage sport tourism as the primary reason for travel and will soon be tying down various MOUs with the country’s sports associations. Zimbabwe, led by new Test captain Sean Williams, played in their first Test match over the past five days in over a year.
It is the African team’s first international assignment since being expelled by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last year for government interference, a ban which was later lifted after the country fulfilled conditions for reinstatement.In basketball, Zimbabwe are hosting Zambia and Madagascar to determine which country progresses to the 2021 Afro-Basket Qualifiers to be held in Rwanda.
“Sport tourism is a fast-growing sector of the global travel industry and equates to $7.68 billion, which is no small feat and we are doing all we can to garner the numbers that we can get,” ZTA Head of Corporate Affairs Mr Godfrey Koti said.
“If you look at these players that are on the field both for Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, you will realise they are ambassadors of brand Zimbabwe because through their influence, they are drumming up domestic and international tourism.
“Zimbabwe has a rich natural tourism resource base and an attractive culture and skills that make it best positioned as a top tourist destination. The involvement of travelers in sporting events, in an active or passive form is pivotal in promoting development and growth of the tourism sector.”
ZTA will in 2020 partner domestic sporting teams in an aggressive bid to promote sports activities, which could attract tourists and increase earnings.
“Used to its full potential, sports tourism can be a catalyst for the development of infrastructure such as stadia, hotels, transportation networks, roads and telecommunications,” Koti said.