By Rungano Dzikira
Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has officially launched the World Tourism Symposium in Harare where it partnered with the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) in line with Government’s thrust to involve the academia into national policy formulation.
Officially opening the event in the capital this Wednesday, the acting Minister of Environment Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mangaliso Ndlovu said that Government was stepping up efforts to work with the academic to ensure that the nation achieve vision 2030 of becoming an upper income middle economy.
“It is encouraging to note that the academia have taken a cue from Government and want to play a role in feeding into policy formulation and review, through formulation of such partnerships. Such support is greatly valued as it will go a long way in lifting Zimbabwe’s tourism sector.
“My ministry pledges support to ensure that the academia play their part in the sector because tourism is a pillar for economic growth contributing at least 10% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) worldwide. The sector accounts for 1, 3 trillion in receipts and 1, 3 million in arrivals and by 2027, it is anticipated that it will support more than 380 million jobs globally. As a nation, Zimbabwe should therefore not be left behind,” said Ndlovu.
He then applauded the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, for its broader vision to reform the education sector and ensure that it addresses the unique challenges facing the country.
“This event also marks the beginning of our tourism month which will see us hosting the Tourism Research and Educators Forum, Sanganai-Hlangalani Tourism Expo, Women in Tourism Indaba, and World Tourism day to be held in Matebeleland South on the 27th of September,” he added.
He urged the academia to identify skills gaps and come up with research papers to advise and inform Government policy.
“This year’s World Tourism Day is running under the theme ‘Tourism and jobs; a better future for all.’ As such I urge you to unpack the theme and explore best possible options for job creation in the sector as Government aims to close the gap between industries and the academia.
On the same junction, UZ Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Mapfumo said there was need to harness tourism as an industry.
“Apart from job creation, it also generates billions of dollars as revenue. Worldwide tourism surpassed the 8, 8 trillion US dollar mark, contributing over 319 million jobs to the world economy in 2018. In Zimbabwe, this past year, it accounted for 8% of all the jobs in the country, hence the objective of this symposium to showcase the importance of tourism as a sector, stimulate job creation.”
Mapfumo added that the university was in the process of reviewing its programmes in line with Government’s thrust in order to come up with competitive graduates who connects with the industry.
These partnerships will ensure that colleges bridge the gap between the academia and the industry, thus facilitating Zimbabwe achieve its upper middle economy vision as all productive sectors would work together, to provide models and recommendations on issues affecting the growth and development of Zimbabwe’s economy.