Local tourism has always been a great investment centre that can be tapped into by players with the right enterprise, imagination and resources. It has continually been noted as a key contributor to the economy, with a lot of attention focused on how tourism related revenue generation can be boosted exponentially.
Recently the Minister of Tourism ,Walter Mzembi, reportedly spelled out an ambitious plan to generate $7.5 billion per year from Chinese tourist arrivals alone. This is a huge leap from the current $1 billion annual total that the country sees from the Victoria Falls which is the main attraction for our “Friends from the East.”
These revenue totals show how this sector can be explored with opportunities for investment being identified and seized. Some of these opportunities come from our nation’s slow adoption of technology; the same technology that can help improve service delivery, boost tourism destination appeal and help showcase the country’s attractions.
This is the point where tech startups should be coming in with solutions that address these challenges with the added opportunity of expanding the impact of the local tech startup ecosystem.
Basic services in line with tourism require attention that we cannot expect the state or lethargic institutions in the sector to be able to provide. In most cases this gap has been a result of a lack of appreciation of how tech can offer solutions that local developers have the capacity to provide.
Examples that come to mind include integrated payment solutions for all services, ticketing (still done manually in all tourist destinations for all activities), online reservations, transport and car hire services(think of Uber Zimbabwe), gambling (ripe for tech disruption) and a 21st century approach to marketing that embraces social media.
Then of course there’s the lack of accurate, updated information on Zimbabwe and its tourist destinations that anyone keen on visiting will struggle to find online (Hello, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority?).
One wonders where local content developers are hiding.It’s both sad and embarrassing that South African and Zambian tourist promotions make more noise about The Victoria Falls than local providers.
In all these examples developers and startups can come up with viable solutions that can make a significant impact on how we deliver the “Zimbabwean Experience” to tourists from China and any other part of the world.
image credit – www.victoriafalls-guide.net