Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Zimbabwe:: Nation Eyes Middle East Tour Operators

UAE, Dubai — The 18th edition of the Arabian Travel Mart officially opened in Dubai yesterday featuring more than 320 main exhibitors, 69 countries and 57 national tourist organisations representatives including the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
Zimbabwe this year is not exhibiting but its representatives are participating as trade delegates.
Expounding on Zimbabwe's participation at this important trade exhibition for travel and tourism professionals, ZTA chief executive, Mr Karikoga Kaseke, who is leading the Zimbabwean delegation, said the trade event and Zimbabwe's involvement is more business focused.
"It is a contract signing show and a platform to connect with this lucrative market.
"We are looking at strategic partnerships with leading outbound tour operators and airlines from this region," said Kaseke.
The ZTA boss also revealed that in line with the tourism marketing and growth strategy for the Arabian Travel Market, they have segmented their market into two that is; primary and secondary markets.
"In this region our primary market includes the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Kuwait, Israel, Syrian Republic and Saudi Arabia.
"Our secondary market has Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Yemen and Jordan.
"Regarding these markets we are targeting key stakeholders such as outbound tour operators, regional and international airlines, the media and investors," he said.
According to the International Monetary Fund, real GDP growth is focused to increase by 4 percent in the Middle-East, with Qatar registering 20 percent, Iraq 10 percent and Saudi Arabia 8 percent.
These situations according to some economic analysts will be offset by an economic slowdown or contradiction in countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya where there is political and civil unrest.
To Zimbabwe among other emerging destinations in Southern Africa, the situation obtaining in the North though undesirable in the spirit of Pan-Africanism and nationhood presents a business opportunity as an alternative destination.
The ATM as an established and successful outbound and regional trade within the Mid-East and Gulf region provides an opportunity to increase destination awareness, confidence and reconnecting with both retail agencies and tourism wholesalers.