An open letter to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority

13 Jan, 2017 - 00:01 0 Views
An open letter to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority

The ManicaPost

Dear Zimbabwe Tourism Authority —
Compliments of the season. I hope this mail finds you well. During my early days, receiving a letter was a passionate act. Those days, letters used to be sent either using buses or the Post Office.

Sending letters using buses was popular among the rural folk. Buses that plied the rural routes from town were a reliable means of mailing since the sender was guaranteed of his mail being delivered within a few hours after sending it.

Upon knowing or expecting that a letter might have been send to them, it was common for family members or even the whole family to eagerly wait for the arrival of the bus from town so that they could collect their mail.

For a person who used the Post Office, he was required to buy a stamp in order for the mail to be posted. If one could not raise cash to buy the stamp, he would just write “Pay forward” on the envelope so that the recipient could pay for the postage for himself in order to collect the mail at the receiving Post Office or Postal Agent.

During those days, the ordinary man could not afford to rent a Post Office Box or private bag. Many depended on those rented by their corporates, farms, churches, mines or schools.If early, a letter could reach the recipient in three days, especially those from urban to urban. Those to rural areas could reach their destination weeks or even after a month.

The mail that used the school bag was accompanied by emotions. Mail was collected at the end of each assembly session when the school head or the head boy would take the joy of calling the names written on the envelopes.

It was not surprising to see envelopes designed with flowers and accompanied with phrases such as: “Mr Postman, please fly me to..,” “The ocean city girl…” or “Master blaster caster raster…”

Sending and receiving a letter was really an act full of passion.It represented a strong bond between the sender and a recipient.

Those who have grown up in this generation might not understand how a postal letter maintained the strong bond between the sender and the recipient. These days, the Post Office letters are no longer in fashion.

Postal letters have been overtaken by technology such as electronic mail (email), mobile phone and internet based platforms such as Short Message Service (sms) commonly referred to as text message, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and others. People prefer the current trend because a message is delivered in real time than postal mail that would deliver between three days and a month.

My dear Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, I have decided to write you a letter hoping that it shall play its initial purpose of maintaining a strong bond between us.

I would like to start by commending you on your social media presence. Almost every regional office of yours is active on Facebook and Twitter marketing respective events and tourism products and packages. You are really taking advantage of technological developments putting the hashtag (#) trend to better use.Hashtags like #VisitZimbabwe and #WowZimbabwe are marketing the brand Zimbabwe.

It is interesting to note that the local tourism calendar has permanent activities that are spearheaded by you. These are Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expoand Harare International Carnival. Sanganai/Hlanganani, a travel and tourism fair is usually held during winter in Bulawayo and the carnival, a cultural tourism event is held in September in Harare.

As an authority, it technically means that the two activities are getfunded by the Government of Zimbabwe. Putting into consideration what transpired in 2016 on the preparation of the two events, I urge you to revise your approach. Funds were not readily available for the preparation of these international events.

With the dwindling revenue base for the Government, I wonder if the central authority shall be able to fund these fairs in time and as expected. Remember it is the same central government that is mobilising Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) where government arms engage private players to fund government projects and programmes for agreed periods. We have seen such PPPs yielding results in areas like road maintenance, airports uplifts, power stations upgrades, national parks developments and other areas.

PPPs or official sponsorship for Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo and Harare International Carnival is the way to go. While it might not happen now, but within the next five to ten years, I hope that such an official sponsor might be acquiredfor each of the two events. The positive results of such partnerships are the ones that bring smiles on stakeholders and tourists’ faces.

Wishing you the best in 2017.

Best regards

Stephen Ephraem

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