By Leonard Ncube
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has engaged popular talk show host Rebecca Chisamba, popularly known as Mai Chisamba as a domestic tourism ambassador as part of their ongoing programme to encourage locals to visit leisure spots across the country.
Mai Chisamba and her husband Arnold Chisamba were in Victoria Falls last weekend together with the Mai Chisamba Show production crew to kick-start the project.
The talk show host said domestic tourism would only be possible if all stakeholders work together. As such, she said there was need to engage locals and encourage them, in their own languages, to understand that tourism is not only for foreigners.
“We should not look down upon ourselves. By domestic tourism, we’re saying this is the opportunity to enjoy as couples and as family where we can eat without cooking for ourselves or cleaning the house for a day or two,” she said.
Besides taking time off work and other commitments, Mai Chisamba said holidaying has health and social benefits.
“We want locals to develop a culture of going on holiday. Zimbabwe has many resort places but our people think tourism is for foreigners and some get old without even visiting the Rainforest here in Victoria Falls.
“I’m like the custodian of local languages and my role is to encourage people to develop an interest in our country’s resorts. I’m doing this in local languages because domestic tourism also promotes our local values,” added Mai Chisamba while encouraging locals to develop a culture of planning for a holiday, even annually.
She said a majority of Zimbabweans prefer to visit their rural homes and pretend to have gone for holiday, yet they need time and space to relax and enjoy as couples or family.
“Holiday means going to relax as lovers or families. We can contribute as church members, couples or families to reduce costs by travelling together.
“I’ve been here several times with my family but this time, I’m here representing people who cannot speak for themselves to try and encourage them to embrace domestic tourism.”
While in Victoria Falls, Mai Chisamba and crew interacted with different people including vendors and recorded videos which will also be aired on her popular show.
She also partook in a number of activities to have an appreciation of what the tourism sector has to offer.
A ZTA marketing executive for domestic tourism Charleen Taonezwi said a number of activities including tourism clubs and trips in schools and churches had been initiated to encourage domestic tourism.
“We’re promoting domestic tourism through celebrities like Mai Chisamba who have a huge fan base and encouraging people to travel locally. The trip is a follow up to a programme done on her show,” Taonezwi said. The Chronicle