NEW: ‘Youths must drive tourism growth’

27 Feb, 2024 - 12:02 0 Views
NEW: ‘Youths must drive tourism growth’ Zimbabwe can focus on promoting domestic tourism by encouraging its own citizens to explore and appreciate the country’s natural attractions and cultural heritage

The Sunday Mail

Online Reporter

THE Government has rolled out various initiatives to mainstream youths into the tourism industry to ensure accelerated growth of the sector into a US$5 billion industry by next year.

Last week, Zimbabwe commemorated National Youth Day at Mushagashe Vocational Training Centre in Masvingo to celebrate the contribution made by youths towards the country’s development.

The celebrations were held under the theme “Positioning Youth Empowerment and Development Towards Achieving Vision 2030”.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Permanent Secretary Dr Takaruza Munyanyiwa told The Sunday Mail that young people must be at the centre of driving development of the sector.

“Tourism has been identified in the National Development Strategy 1 as a low-hanging fruit, ranking third after mining and agriculture in terms of contribution to our GDP (gross domestic product),” he said.

“The National Youth Day celebrations presented a formidable networking environment with the youth.

“We were able to give them information on the opportunities in tourism.”

He said the ministry was committed to doing its part in driving youth empowerment.

“The youth are the future leaders, hence it is important that we capacitate them to achieve our US$5 billion tourism economy by 2025.

“The future growth of tourism will be driven by the youth, especially in the digital space.”

The ministry, he said, had deployed youth focal persons to work closely with young people in the community.

“We host youth groups at our promotional forums like Sanganai and the ZITF (Zimbabwe International Trade Fair),” he continued.

“We also have the National Tourism Innovation Challenge, which has given birth to new start-ups.

“There are many opportunities in the sector that include tour guiding, tour operating, lodges development and management.

“Our tourism market cluster approach has opened new frontiers in sport, religion, culture and heritage . . . MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), business and study tourism.

“Our Provincial Tourism Development Strategy is also creating more opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment.”

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