Sunday Mail Reporter
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), the country’s premier tourism marketing body, and Welcome China will jointly host a training programme today that primes the hospitality sector and related service providers to satisfactorily cater for Chinese visitors.
Welcome China is a Beijing-headquartered concern that facilitates training in customer-specific programmes.
In essence, the Chinese Ready Certification programme is a Chinese government and industry-endorsed service that equips service providers with the ability to tap into the world’s largest consumer market.
In a statement yesterday, ZTA chief executive officer Mrs Lita Likukuma said there was need for the industry to familiarise itself with the Chinese market as it had inherent potential.
“The China Ready Certification acts as a seal of approval to Destination Zimbabwe and this should see improved tourist visits by the Chinese as they are assured their expectations will be met,” she said.
“China Ready programme is designed to assist destination and service providers to be ready for Chinese visitors and promote the market effectively.
“From the industry training-needs analysis we conducted, it emerged that tourism operators do not understand the Chinese market — (that is) their values, norms and culture — hence it is envisaged this training will bridge that gap.”
The programme will endeavour to train over 100 participants expected at the event on Chinese culture and customs, Chinese industry-specific knowledge, marketing, segmentation, trending technologies and Chinese visitors decision-making processes, among others.
The full training programme will lead to a 12-month interactive online training and certification of individuals and organisations.
ZTA statistics show that arrivals from the Asian market rose by 59 percent to 50 433 last year from 31 721 a year earlier.
The increase was driven by arrivals from South Korea (122 percent), Japan (53 percent), China (24 percent) and India (73 percent).
In January, Government launched a cultural exchange programme dubbed “Tour Africa-The New Horizon”, which is being championed by a Chinese company Touchroad International.
Zimbabwe is expected to receive 350 Chinese tourists every month from March this year as a result of the initiative.