Youths challenged to take part in tourism innovation programmes

By Gay Matambo

THE need for youths to embrace programmes which seek to create opportunities for young innovators in the tourism sector value chain took centre stage at the Masvingo Province Tourism Innovation Challenge held this Thursday.

Youths who took part in the Tourism Innovation Challenge in Masvingo, commended the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry for taking the programme to provincial level.

This comes at a time when youths are being given opportunities in various sectors of the economy hence young people in Masvingo are convinced that they have a role to play in developing the tourism sector in the province.

Here we have been taught about entrepreneurship in the tourism industry. You find that its an important aspect in the industry for us to understand that we have to add value. As much as we cannot all afford to own a lodge or hotel but is important that we identify gaps, and find possible ways for adding value,” said a participant.

We have noticed that domestic tourism is not growing because people are not aware of the need to travel and visit tourist resort areas. Hence the need to market initiatives like the ZimBho Mukando, Stokvel initiative which promotes domestic tourism. We are trying to come up with similar initiatives to boost the tourism sector,” added another.

Officially opening the Tourism Innovation Challenge, Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Masvingo Province, Dr Jefter Sakupwanya noted that introduction of new products and services in the tourism market through innovation will enhance the sector’s value chain.

This year the challenge attracted 181 entries, a 300% increase from 2021 of those, our Province contributed 11% of the entries. We want to see the participation from our Province increasing next year as guided also by the presentations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Innocent Makonese will represent Masvingo in the national challenge after winning the provincial tourism innovation challenge.

The national winner is expected to be announced before the 30th of September this year.