By Byron Mutingwende

Under the stewardship of the results oriented Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), Dr Karikoga Kaseke, the institution is enjoying a positive turn in fortunes spearheaded by the aggressive marketing prowess of its newly appointed Head of Corporate Affairs, Godfrey ‘Chief’ Koti.

Koti is a young, vibrant and hardworking broadcaster, digital media and public reputation management specialist.

In the recent past, the ZTA has suddenly morphed into one of the leading drivers and advocates of the “Zimbabwe Is Open for Business” mantra spearheaded by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The ZTA’s media relations drive has improved as is witnessed by the local and international coverage of Zimbabwe as a safe tourist destination.

“The ZTA’s corporate social responsibility activities are now more focused. The Zim-Marimba band that went on to break the World Record of the largest Marimba Band and played the longest song according to the Guinness Book of Records is testimony of the ZTA’s presence in people’s social and economic lives. In the recent past, the ZTA’s digital presence is slowly picking up; and its Facebook and Twitter pages are now lively and content filled. That is pleasing for an institution mandated to project a positive image of the country,” said Dr. Tanaka Chidora, a University of Zimbabwe Lecturer and Media Expert.

In addition, the ZTA has been able to connect the Zimbabwean destination to the world. In that regard, the idea of brand Zimbabwe has been well articulated both locally and internationally.

Economic and political analyst, Richard Mahomva said the Visit Zimbabwe initiative has been well communicated to the target audiences and that the reach has been exceptional lately.

“For the first time in a long time eyes are glued on the TV screens for the 2018 FIFA Football World Cup. There has been an advert on SuperSport lately which clearly markets Zimbabwe as a tourist Destination of choice and an investment country of choice. The competition has been against Egypt, Qatar, Rwanda and South Africa among other powerhouses.”
The national marketing organ has been partnering local celebrities. This has been a useful tool to communicate ZTA’s message. Local comedians such as Doc Vikela, Clive Chigubhu, Comic Pastor and others have been effectively marketing domestic tourism to to their legion of fans.

International Celebrities such as German based musician Zimbabwean born Viginia Mukwesha and American TV Star Chanita Foster were recently appointed as Tourism Brand Ambassadors. This is yielding positive results, thanks to the ZTA’s revitalised communication strategy.

Koti’s bag of marketing tactics is always full and ready to produce positive fruits for Zimbabwe. Sports Tourism has also started to tick slowly. The ZTA is now working closely with the Zimbabwe Cricket. Zimbabwe recently hoisted the International Cricket Council (ICC) in the World Cup Qualifiers. The World Class Football Legends also played in the country and put Zimbabwe on the map as a safe sports tourism destination. Analysts contend that although there was poor marketing, this was a great initiative for communication and marketing purposes of brand Zimbabwe.