SRC partner Tourism ministry in 'sport tourism'

HARARE - The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) and the tourism industry have combined efforts to grow the five billion tourism economy targeted by 2018, a senior government official has said.

In a key note address at function held to mark the partnership between the Ministry of Tourism and hospitality Industry with SRC, tourism minister Walter Mzembi said sport tourism can be a key contributor to government’s target.

“Sports tourism is a niche segment for Zimbabwe. It can grow rapidly and can be a key contributor to the five billion tourism economy targeted by 2018,” Muzembi said in a speech read on his behalf.

“There are vast business opportunities locally which sport and tourism can harness as we stand ready to assist the implementation of the ZIMASSET.

“Traditionally sporting events are organized for supporting purpose only with less emphasis on the tourism aspects; hence we have lost so many opportunities.”

This development comes at a time when the country is struggling to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Mzembi believes that sport tourism can lure FDI.

“Sport and tourism can attract Foreign Direct Investments if we are able to appeal to the international sporting boards, icons and teams.

“This event should see proper coordination between the sports authority and the tourism authority to increase linkages that the country will benefit more from sport tourism.”

Mzembi said many countries such as Australia which is earning three billon per annum from Sport Tourism, approximately five percent of their GDP, have developed a sports tourism strategy-the strategy which should distinguish between domestic  and International sports tourism and specify how to reach the targets.

“Creation of local and international partnerships is possible through exploiting available opportunities in sport and tourism.”

“The relationship between sport and tourism is symbolic and both sectors need each other as sports people are always touring from one country to another,” added Mzembi.

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