Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
Players in the hospitality sector have been urged to take advantage of the large number of tourists who visit the Eastern Highlands to market the region’s culture.
Speaking at a Women in Tourism workshop recently, Manicaland provincial administrator Mr Edgar Seenza said culture and tourism could not be separated, hence the need to revisit the tourism packages offered by stakeholders.
“If you go to Victoria Falls and they know that you are coming as a group, there is a welcoming team of traditional dancers and tourists enjoy that,” he said.
“But in Manicaland it does not happen. We are not marketing our own cultural heritage at such critical places where people converge. We want development and we want you to take the lead. We need to bridge that gap and move forward as a team.”
Mr Seenza said tourists were keen to learn more about the rural set-up, yet that part of the local lifestyle had been obscured.
He said rural women should be roped in to showcase the cultural aspect of the province.
“I want to appeal to you to take the rural women on board,” said Mr Seenza. “It is the women who are in the rural areas who we need to manage, bring them on board so that they understand and appreciate what Government is trying to do in terms of growing the tourism sector.”
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, tourism is one of the key sectors that have the potential to contribute significantly to gender equality and women empowerment.
Tourism by its nature is a cross cutting and fastest growing sector that accounts directly and indirectly for 10 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.