Marytise Vambayi Herald Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) yesterday took delivery of 11 brand new all-terrain vehicles that are expect to boost its operations, especially the organisation’s regional staff.
Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu officially commissioned the vehicles, and the refurbished Tourist Information Centre, which will be used especially by walk-in visitors who may want to know more about what destination Zimbabwe offers.
The development is in pursuit of the ZTA Integrated Results Based Management (IRBM) Strategic Plan for the period 2021-2025, which prioritises capitalisation, among others, as one of the key deliverables.
As part of ZTA’s capital expenditure programme, the organisation needs 15 all-terrain field operations vehicles, of which 11 have been delivered.
The remaining four await delivery.
Ten of the 11 vehicles are earmarked for ZTA regional offices while the remainder will serve as programme vehicles based at the head office.
Minister Ndlovu said given the Government’s devolution agenda, the acquisition of field operations vehicles and their allocation to regional offices could not have come at a better time.
“Aided by these all-terrain vehicles, it will become easier for the ZTA regional staff to reach out to all parts of their respective regions or provinces,” he said.
“In so doing, this will enable them to engage tourism operators including those in remote parts, thereby ensuring we do not leave anyone behind from ensuring enhanced compliance, accounting for tourism facilities stock both existing and new facilities as well as the collection of tourism statistics.”
Minister Ndlovu said capacitation through provision of the vehicles will also go a long way in facilitating critical stakeholder engagement including the different Government structures.
Further, it will enable the ZTA representatives to engage with the local authorities such as Rural District Councils and urban councils as well as traditional leaders and local communities, thereby enabling the tapping into tourism as a vehicle for local social and economic development.
Added Minister Ndlovu: “Government expects the ZTA through their regional offices to immensely contribute towards tourism product development and diversification. Taking into account each of the region or province’s peculiarities in terms of tourism resource endowments, Government’s desire is to see tourism as one of the key economic sectors contributing to National and provincial Gross Domestic Products (GDPs).
“Against this backdrop, it is imperative to ensure that ZTA employees deployed to the regions are competent enough to contribute towards the broad mandate of the organisation as a whole.”
Speaking at the same occasion, ZTA acting chief executive Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said they were happy with the achievement.
“We have, for a long time, been looking forward to the upgrading of our Tourism Information Centre as well as the acquisition of a fleet of new vehicles especially for our regional offices and other programmes.
“This has, however, been largely affected by budgetary constraints. I want to assure our principals that the vehicles will be put to good use.
“Through the car tracking system that we have invested in, we will be able to monitor and evaluate the use of the fleet in both real time and on historical basis. This should go a long way in curbing the temptation for the misuse of these treasured assets”, he added.
The lack of mobility not only negatively impacted ZTA’s effectiveness as a promotional and regulatory body, but also their stakeholder relations, said Mr Chidzidzi.
The vehicles will go a long way in enhancing operations aligned to the fulfilment of ZTA’s mandate and the delivery of the expected results.
Mr Chidzidzi said the new-look tourist office blends perfectly with the brand-new tourist attraction in the vicinity, the statue of national heroine Mbuya Nehanda, which has become a popular place to visit for both domestic and foreign visitors.
ZTA board chairperson Mr Ray Mawerera said the vehicles will allow ZTA to achieve its objectives.