BY SHARON SIBINDI
Bulawayo’s poor transport network is negatively affecting tourism in the city, Bulawayo Publicity Association (BPA) has said.
BPA recently had an opportunity to market the City of Kings and Queens, including the country, at large event in South Africa after it was invited to exhibit at Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban last week.
The association’s marketing officer, Moreblessings Tshuma, told Southern Eye that during Africa’s Travel Indaba, the issue of both poor roads and air travel were raised by tourists.
“It was noted that the major challenge with Bulawayo was its transport network, especially the air transport network, as most tourist do not want to spend days on the road,” Tshuma said.
“However, some touring companies expressed an interest in using road transport, though attention was brought to the congestion at the Beitbridge Border Post, which has a negative impact on the flow of tourists into Bulawayo and Zimbabwe at large.
“Various airlines were approached, with the hope of ensuring ease of travel into Bulawayo. It was noted with pleasure that there is an interest from various airlines to add Bulawayo to their route, considering that most of these airlines are already operating in Zimbabwe, that is, in Harare and Victoria Falls.”
He said South African Minister of Tourism Derek Henekom, highlighted how Africa was poised for exponential growth, with a constant average of 7% growth in the past three years.
“Other key notes included the drive to rebrand Africa as a whole and the move to promote responsible tourism in Africa. Our major goal at this travel show was to promote Bulawayo as a destination of choice. This was done through various schedules and impromptu meetings with key potential partners and investors,” Tshuma said.
“We managed to hold meetings with other regional Publicity Associations, Destination Marketing Companies, tour operators and travel agents to convince them to consider building strategic partnerships with Bulawayo tourism players and include Bulawayo on their packages.”
He said it was noted with concern that Bulawayo was not well represented at the travel indaba.
“It was recommended that the BPA should ensure that it does not miss such exhibitions as these offer a great opportunity to promote and bring awareness about the city. The trip would not have been a success without the incredible support of Air Zimbabwe, Holiday Inn Bulawayo, Townshend & Butcher, Simbisa brands, Acacia, PPC and Zak Hawa our vice-chairperson,” Tshuma said.