Ebola reports cost Zim tourism

Some 15 countries have pulled out of the 2014 Zimbabwe Tourism Expo, following media reports that the country was not taking the Ebola scare seriously. Karikoga Kaseke, chief executive Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, said the reports were blown out of proportion and cost the country much-needed tourism revenue.

Karikoga Kaseke, chief executive Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
Karikoga Kaseke, chief executive Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

“As a result of the media reports that Zimbabwe had experienced an Ebola case and was not taking it seriously, some 15 buyers including neighbouring Botswana have pulled out of the Expo,” said Kaseke, describing the reports as careless.

He also noted that the quality of exhibition material and the venue were not up to standard compared to those in countries like Kenya. The 2014 Expo is set for September 16-18 at the Harare Rainbow Towers.

China, Japan, South Korea, Ireland, UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, USA and Dubai have confirmed their participation.

Retired Brig Walter Kananga, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, said to prop up the country’s tourism sector, government would deploy tourism attaches and travel agents to various countries.

“Attaches would help clear perceptions peddled by our detractors about the country’s image and make contact with potential buyers,” Kananga said.

Zimbabwe lost its safe destination status following the violent land invasions initiated by Zanu (PF) in early 2000. Some white commercial farmers were murdered during the invasions with thousands others either injured or violently kicked off their land.

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