Zimbabwe Tourism Agency looks to sports for industry boost
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has stepped up efforts to tap into the lucrative sport tourism market by targeting the on-going cricket Test series between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, which is taking place at the Harare Sports Club.
They have also targeted the Afro-Basket basket qualifiers, which will see Zimbabwe host Zambia and Madagascar.
The sports tourism sector is seen as one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry, mooted at around to $7.68 billion (R111bn).
The tourism agency is using the two sports events to encourage sport tourism as the primary reason for travel in the country. It hopes it will soon be tying down various memo with the country's sports associations.
This comes in the backdrop of the Zimbabwean national cricket team playing its first Test match in over a year. The team is led by the newly appointed Test captain, Sean Williams.
It is the African team’s first international assignment since being expelled by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last year for government interference, a ban which was later lifted after the country fulfilled conditions for reinstatement.
Godfrey Koti, the head of corporate affairs at the tourism agency, said: “Sport tourism is a fast-growing sector of the global travel industry and equates to $7.68 billion, which is no small feat and we are doing all we can to garner the numbers that we can get".
“If you look at these players that are on the field both for Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, you will realise they are ambassadors of brand Zimbabwe because through their influence, they are drumming up domestic and international tourism.
“Zimbabwe has a rich natural tourism resource base and an attractive culture and skills that make it best positioned as a top tourist destination. The involvement of travelers in sporting events, in an active or passive form is pivotal in promoting development and growth of the tourism sector.”