Harare – Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has admitted Zimbabwe’s failure to attract tourism from the World Cup soccer showcase underway in the neighbouring South Africa which had earlier said was going to bring immense commercial benefit to the country.
“Before the start of the tournament we ran on a false line that we should host some of the teams participating in the World Cup. However we have not seen the gesture as we had anticipated,”Mzembi told the state controlled weekly paper The Sunday Mail.
The over zealous Tourism minister, his tourism campaign manager who is the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive, Karikoga Kaseke after spending tax payers’ money touring international countries before the start of the World cup, told the nation that a number of teams were going to camp in the country.
“FIFA had indicated to us that some of the teams would be allowed to camp within 90 minutes flight from their venues,” they told the media recently.
Mzembi had also said that the country was going to get at least 30% of the tourists who would be visiting South Africa.
To facilitate this, Mzembi would send a delegation led by his permanent secretary Sylvester Maunganidze to South Africa to lure tourists from the eliminated teams.
“The objective of this delegation is to make personal contact with potential tourists at World Cup. The team has set offices in South Africa,” he told the same publication before adding that they are going to invite celebrities like Shakira and Akon to Zimbabwe during the same trip.
One of the country’s largest hotel operators Rainbow Tourism Group Chief Executive Chipo Mtasa whose spokesperson Eltah Nengomasha had said that half of their hotel rooms had been booked by tourists who were coming for the World Cup in South Africa two months before the soccer show case commences, said the hospitality industry had not benefited anything from the on going World Cup soccer show case.
“We have not yet got anything from the World Cup going on in South Africa besides the excitement we had when we hosted the Brazilian team. Our hotels remain unoccupied despite the hope (we) had,” Rainbow Tourism Group Chief Executive Chipo Mutasa told delegates in Harare recently.