By Claver Nyuki
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mr Munesushe Munodawafa has urged the integration of academics in proffering lasting solutions to challenges facing the Tourism sector in the country.
Mr Munodawafa was speaking at the official opening of the inaugural Tourism Research Conference at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo yesterday.
"Industry, Academics and Government should work closely and in a complementary way in order to ensure that our country's envisioned vision 2030 is realized.
"The tourism industry and economy is the future and it is through our working together collectively which will produce the perfect tourism industry we want," he said.
The permanent secretary also acknowledged the Tourism Research Conference organisers, revealing that the conference was the first of its kind to bring together technocrats and academics in the fields of Tourism and Hospitality Education and Training.
Mr Munodawafa complemented the theme of the conference, ‘Bridging the academic-practitioner gap: Towards research based solutions,’ highlighting that it has come at an opportune time when there were concerns raised during the National Tourism Sector Strategy Workshops held in 2018.
"This conference comes at a time when several concerns were raised during our National Tourism Sector Strategy workshops that were held through out the country in 2018.
"Key among the stakeholder concerns was the fact that institutions of higher and tertiary education maybe producing research output which is either irrelevant, or never disseminated to the tourism industry, this is perhaps due to some silo mentality where academia is divorced from industry," he said.
He added, "The theme and the thought process of this conference is most befitting since it seeks to find ways of promoting collaboration between universities and the industry."
The Permanent secretary urged universities and colleges to identify real problems being faced by companies and conduct thorough research to solve the same.
He also challenged the industry to make deliberate efforts to support innovation and research that comes from these institutions of higher learning.