Through its presence at ATM 2022 (this year’s Arabian Travel Market event), the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is seeking to gain from the post-pandemic rise in travel and tourism across the Gulf.
ATM 2022: Promoting regional tourism
ATM 2022 is held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre and in partnership with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET). The ATM is a travel and tourism conference and event that aims to support and promote the tourism sector across the Middle East for both incoming and outbound tourists and companies within the tourism industry. The event is designed to highlight accommodation options, tourist attractions and new airline routes. ATM’s Hosted Delegate program aims to host 150 of the industry’s leading buyers and allows them the opportunity to network and to expand their business in the Middle East. Representatives from the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific, Europe and Africa attend the annual event.
The event seeks to bring together stakeholders from the travel and tourism industries and will host 1,500 exhibitors, with representatives from 158 global destinations. The event will run until May 12 and will be followed by virtual events on May 17 and 18.
ZTA Head Corporate Affairs Godfrey Koti said the ZTA seeks to use the exhibition as an opportunity to create awareness of Destination Zimbabwe, the ZTA’s marketing vehicle. “We intend to maximize our visibility efforts in this market for the destination through showcasing the country’s tourism and cultural products as well as promote it as a safe tourism investment destination,” said Koti. He highlighted the importance of Zimbabwe’s participation at ATM, given the presence of representatives from South Africa, Nigeria, Seychelles, Mauritius, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Kenya and Ethiopia, all of whom are regular exhibitors.
The ZTA’s participation at ATM 2022, regional tradeshows and ongoing digital advertising efforts are all part of the organization’s attempts to capitalize on a successful Expo 2020 and are aimed at increasing Zimbabwe’s appeal as a destination for tourists from across the Middle East. Koti went on to say that Zimbabwe has seen tourist numbers from the Gulf region steadily increase since 2004, “We are treating this market as a greenfield and hence our efforts will be largely based on creating awareness and visibility. We have in the past recorded relatively steady tourist inflows of 3,988 in 2004 and a peak of 10,077 arrivals in 2009 while the figure dropped significantly due to travel restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The growth pre-pandemic had been attributed to promotional campaigns that had been put into effect mostly through participation at various exhibitions including the ATM as well as hosting of media and tour agencies on familiarization tours,” he said.
Trade between Zimbabwe and the UAE has grown rapidly in recent years and the country has seen increased interest in investments from the Gulf following a successful showing at Expo 2020.