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Mawerera appointed ZTA board chair

Mawerera appointed ZTA board chair

The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu has appointed marketing expert, Mr Ray Mawerera, as the substantive board chairman for the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).

He takes over from Mrs Precious Sibiya, who returns to her position as deputy board chair, and has been in acting capacity for the past few months.

Making the announcement on Monday, the minister said the incoming board chair has vast experience in marketing and business leadership — traits that will be useful in driving the tourism authority and spearheading marketing of ‘Destination Zimbabwe’.

“I wish to announce the appointment of Mr Ray Mawerera as the substantive chair of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority board.

“In doing so I also take a moment to thank the outgoing board chairperson, Mrs Precious Sibiya for her guidance of the authority during the past few months.

“I wish to also advise that Dr Sibiya now assumes the post of vice chairperson of the ZTA board.”

Mr Mawerera’s appointment comes at a time when the tourism sector is going through unprecedented challenges as a result of Covid-19, which has led to international travel restrictions, job and livelihoods losses among other challenges.

However, there are positives that the board will have to foster ahead with initiatives such as the ‘ZimBhoo’ campaign and implementing the National Tourism Growth and Recovery Strategy that was launched by President Mnangagwa in Victoria Falls last year.

Minister Ndlovu has urged the board to urgently finalise the process of recruiting a substantive chief executive.

Mr Givemore Chidzidzi is currently the acting chief executive following the retirement of Mr Karikoga Kaseke on medical grounds.

“It is common knowledge that travel and tourism have almost come to a halt due to the Covid-19 induced travel and other restrictions. That notwithstanding, there are high expectations that the sector should rebound and make a meaningful contribution to national economic recovery,” said the minister.

“You are joining the authority at a time when implementation of the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy is high on the agenda. I, therefore, wish to underscore the importance of the new board chairperson to ensure that the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority takes up its rightful position and plays a critical role in the marketing of the country.”

The minister also implored ZTA to ride on the Dubai 2020 Expo, due to start next month, to market the country.

“I expect a robust marketing campaign run by the ZTA to be put in place and finalised as soon as possible,” he said.

“We need to upscale our destination awareness efforts and ensure improved visibility of destination Zimbabwe.

“As the world begins to open up, we need to position brand Zimbabwe as visibly as possible to benefit from the tourism traffic that will emerge post the pandemic, through partnerships with the private sector as we cannot do without them in our efforts to promote the country.”

Other board members are Mrs Rita Likukuma, Mrs B Marandure, Mr T Jinda, Mr S Sethoboli, Mr Blessing Munyenyiwa and Mr Never Nyemudzo.

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