In a move that is designed to create demand of existing tourism products and services, the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality has launched the Domestic Tourism Campaign dubbed ZimBho#IzimYami #Vakatsha.
The campaign Brand, ZIMBHO, Hashtag vakatsha, Hashtag IZimYami is premised on the word Bho, which means good, well or fine. In the tourism context, it clearly depicts that Zimbabwe is beautiful and richly endowed Thus ZIM IS BHO.
ZimBho is motivated by the street lingo â€œBhoâ€ which is a slang word casually used in everyday language by almost all people in Zimbabwe meaning â€œgoodâ€ or showing common understanding; â€œBhoâ€ has evolved from just being â€œBhoâ€ to â€œBho zvekutiâ€ meaning very good, â€œVolume Bhoâ€ and the latest being â€œBholatoâ€ which again is slang of saying very good.
In his keynote address during the launch held at Caribbea Resort yesterday, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Minister, Hon Mangaliso Ndlovu highlighted that government is committed to ensuring that tourism services are affordable without compromising quality.
“To support this campaign, Government has exempted VAT on all tourism services for domestic tourists in a bid to reduce the prices being charged on tourism products and services. Government will continue looking at ways to make tourism affordable to the nationals and expects to see such incentives actually translating to price reductions in the sector for the benefit of the domestic market.
“In removing the VAT the Government had hoped that there will be a corresponding reduction in the cost of hospitality Institutions. I remain totally concerned that the rates charged by the hotels and lodges in Zimbabwe are still very high,” he said.
Hon Ndlovu urged the industry to take stock of what is happening elsewhere, particularly in neighbouring countries inorder to review prices downwards.
“It’s disturbing that an average breakfast costs US25 or more in our hotels. Thatâ€™s the price of a goat! Surely that cannot be justified regardless of even the much touted â€œhigh cost of doing businessâ€ argument. I urge the hospitality sector to focus on volumes rather than high margins.
“I am aware that one of the challenges to the domestic market is the low disposable incomes vis-Ã -vis high prices of our tourism products. Government is continuously engaging on how to improve the cost of doing business for the operators so as to reduce prices. Government is also continuously engaging relevant parties with the view to improve incomes and the economy in general. I am appealing to all employers to do the same as this will go a long way in increasing domestic travel. We want to see you enjoying and having fun,” he also said.
The main objectives of the ZimBho campaign are; Creating awareness among locals of all attractions within Zimbabwe, Developing a culture of travel among Zimbabweans and Increasing domestic travel to Increase the contribution of domestic tourism to the economy.
He also encouraged locals to think of going on holiday, plan for their holidays, experience the beauty of their country, visit known and less known areas and develop an interest in travel.
“I am urging all Zimbabweans to travel locally. As the old adage says, charity begins at home. Travel does not mean traveling far and wide only, but can mean going out in oneâ€™s neighbourhood even just on a picnic, eating out or camping out. Exposure is the best teacher. I am appealing to each and every one of you to be on board, motivated and to work tirelessly to market Zimbabwe and remember that we are all Tourism Ambassadors, he said.
This comes at a time when His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr E. D Mnangagwa launched the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy in which the Tourism sector was challenged to achieve a $ 5-billion-dollar Tourism Economy by year 2025. One of the key pillars of this Recovery and Growth Strategy is the promotion of Domestic Tourism.