Story by Tichaona Kurewa
The historic visit to Zimbabwe by Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko has excited tourism players who believe it has massively endorsed the country as a safe tourism destination.
During his three-day state visit, President Lukashenko, accompanied by his counterpart President Emmerson Mnangagwa, toured Victoria Falls and enjoyed various activities in the resort city this Wednesday.
‘We Are Victoria Falls’ acting board chairperson, Mrs Barbra Murasiranwa-Hughes told the ZBC News, “Seeing a European Head of State visiting Zimbabwe just gives confidence to other countries within the European Union to say it’s safe to visit Zimbabwe, it’s a safe destination with various tourist attractions. We are busy building confidence for the rest of the European countries.”
“This is a booster for us as Zimbabwe. Receiving a visitor, a Head of State from Belarus, it goes to show that we have quite a lot to offer. They have sampled Victoria Falls which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and will actually incite more visitors to actually come and see it. There is a lot to see in Zimbabwe,” noted Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority director general, Dr. Fulton Mangwanya.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says the visit is an endorsement of Destination Zimbabwe.
ZTA chief executive Mrs Winnie Muchanyuka noted, ” This endorsement to destination Zimbabwe, Victoria falls is on a bucket list of many people across the globe including Heads of State. We are quite elated that the President of Belarus has spared time to come and visit Zimbabwe. It is the best way of marketing as well since the word of mouth; I’m sure when they get back to Belarus they will tell their friends and others of the wonders that they saw here.”
For the City of Victoria Falls, the visit is an opportunity to seek twinning opportunities with tourism resort cities in Belarus.
“We will be keen definitely to scout for cities who share the same values and sentiments with Victoria Falls, that are those cities that thrive on tourism. So we are going to make serious follow-ups on that and see what we can do,” Victoria Falls Town Clerk, Mr Ronnie Dube said.
The Belarusian leader is the first European leader to visit Victoria Falls in recent years