Russia’s prime tourism extravaganza, the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Fair, ended last week with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority scheduling follow-up road shows for May to drum up destination awareness for its attractive tourism tapestries.
After successfully sealing several tourist marketing deals with Russian companies that should see an influx of tourists starting in May, ZTA has scheduled road shows in Moscow in mid-May as a follow-up to the deals and as a way of managing destination awareness, perception and image in a market that has about 28 million outbound tourist every year.
“Zimbabwe as a tourist destination is known very little by the ordinary Russian tourist and we need to drum up awareness and manage the bad perceptions created by the Western media on those who have been victims of the propaganda before they can start seriously flocking home.
“It is a good and promising big market that we cannot afford to lose. It is a market that we will fight to win and we see ourselves as being on the path to win huge tourist arrival, given the type of deals we have sealed so far.
“It is, therefore, prudent for us to hold road shows in May. We have already started planning for the road shows which should create awareness for our tourist destinations,” said ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke.
Mr Kaseke said the road shows would also be aimed at luring Russian investors in all sectors of the Zimbabwean economy, with tourism as the major link pin.
“What starts is tourism where people visit, relax and enjoy but as they relax and ponder on what they will have seen, they will start thinking of investments. No one invests in a market that he or she does not know or understand.
“We, therefore, expect tourist arrivals to also increase investment in all sectors of our economy. We are confident to achieve that,” he said.
MITT was attended by nine African countries, including South Africa, Egypt and Kenya, as well as 77 European countries and United States of America.
The Zimbabwean stand was among the most visited ones, with the Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, the Great Zimbabwe National Monuments and Matopos being major attractions.
Russia is regarded as one of Europe’s biggest emerging economies after successfully abandoning its socialist path and has since created about 50 billionaires in US dollar terms in Moscow alone, who have a huge appetite for spending in leisure.