By John Tafadzwa Chirinda
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has successfully managed to show real seriousness regards reviving the tourism industry by among other things conducting a capacity building workshop for almost all Publicity Associations (PAs) that are in Zimbabwe. The workshop was held in Harare from 26 to 27 March 2018 at the Ambassador Hotel. The event has seen ZTA under the 100days Action plan tasked to resuscitate the Publicity Associations through conducting capacity building workshop, providing grants for publicity associations, assisting in the formulation of regional marketing plans and collaborating with PAs for joint marketing operations in their respective regions across Zimbabwe.
The workshop discussed with Publicity Associations on quick win projects they can implement when provided with grants by ZTA. These projects will have to serve the interests of ZTA’s mandates that are marketing of the Zimbabwean tourism products around the country to both domestic and international markets.
Around eleven Publicity Associations attended this award outlining workshop among them Harare, Bulawayo, Kariba, Masvingo, Victoria Falls, Chimanimani, Zvishavane, Kwekwe and Chitungwiza Publicity Associations. ZTA outlined the grant purpose of this program which is to aid the promotion of tourism by Publicity Associations through provision of quality and accurate information, enhancing visitor experience and increasing visibility of tourism within their regions. Through these activities the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority expects an increase in overnight stays /day visits within tourism regions. The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is the administrator of the grant program having an oversight role on the documentation process and compliance with guidelines. The grants being given are subject to audit each year and for transparency purposes grants are disbursed at the direction of the grant committee set.
The initial collective amount of $20 000 for all the PAs has been set. The PAs that attended the workshop expressed gratitude to this initiative and encouraged each other to apply so that the facility will produce and serve the intended purpose as results will bring more opportunities with further funding likely to be injected. Each PA has to focus on unique projects or activities that will definitely enhance existing facilities to meet visitor needs, promote and highlight regional tourist attractions, advertise and promote tourism so as to increase tourist inflows in regions.
At the workshop, Municipalities have been identified as the key stakeholder and beneficiary to publicity work as all that is publicised brings business to each and every council. During the application process, PAs have to demonstrate additional private sector /councils support availability to the project.