The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is on a drive to empower women through the creation of an association to address their perculiar challenges.
ZTA corporate communications manager Godfrey Koti said women in tourism play a pivotal role towards economic development.
“We created a platform to help women discuss the challenges they face in the tourism sector. They pointed out that funding is one of the major challenges when they are coducting their various projects. The Women in Tourism Association will have a platform to come up with solutions to address their challenges.
“Women directly involved and those indirectly involved with the tourism sector play a vital role in the country’s development. Therefore they will benefit immensely from the association, which will represent them in various provinces and in other countries,” he said.
Tourism is one of the key economic drivers in the country contributing 10 percent to gross domestic product.
It is one of the four pillars earmarked to drive the economy alongside agriculture, mining and manufacturing.
The association, which is set to have branches across the country, will create business opportunities for women.
Women who make handcrafts have highlighted challenges in their attempts to access the tourism market.
They often face difficulties in entering the tourism market due to the belief that tourism is all about large hotels, resorts and lodges.
Tourism is also about the small-scale handcraft businesses that can be conducted from the village or small towns.
In line with this, the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality has taken the stance to promote domestic tourism.
Women play a major role in domestic tourism.
According to the ZTA, domestic tourism helps maintain the sustainability of the country’s tourism industry by generating a tourism market despite lack of interest from foreign markets.
It creates tourism awareness and a tourism culture amongst locals.
Zimbabwe earns over $800 million from tourism activities and the sector employs around 300 000 people directly and indirectly. Projections of tourism arrivals are expected to grow from 2, 1 million registered in 2016 to over 2,4 million in 2018.