Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) requires $700 000 to set up a digital marketing platform that will allow visitors to book and pay for holidays online, which will increase the country’s visibility as a destination of choice.
Speaking at the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) annual congress in Nyanga last week, ZTA chief executive, Mr Karikoga Kaseke said the country was lagging behind in terms of digital marketing with only 34 percent of foreign visitors making their bookings online.
“Approximately 63 percent regional travellers make their booking online so you find that compared to our 34 percent we still have a lot of work to do. E-marketing is the way to go and we need to do what other destinations are doing to lure tourists from all over the world,” he said.
He said ZTA had not been able to aggressively market destination Zimbabwe on digital platforms due to budgetary constraints adding that the authority had already engaged the Ministry of Finance for funding.
“We know the importance of digital marketing and as the authority responsible for marketing the tourism industry, we must come up with a strategy that will be used by industry players,” he said.
He said the $700 000 was needed to start up the digital marketing campaign, which would then need an annual budget of between $400 000 and $500 000. Mr Kaseke said although the funds might not be availed in the 2018 National Budget, he was positive Treasury would be able to support the initiative.
He said the initiative was expected to be launched next year. Official statistics show that more than half of the world’s population has access to smart phones, which is driving at least 50 percent of web traffic.
“This means that half the world’s population can make an online booking for a holiday in any part of the globe. The onus is now on us to tap into that low hanging market,” said Mr Kaseke.