Late last year the ZTA invited Jamaican reggae star Luciano aka “The Messenger” to Zimbabwe where he performed hits such as ‘One Away Ticket‘ at the Jacaranda Jazz Festival held at the City Sports Centre. During his visit he had a few inspirational words for the people of Zimbabwe and was full of praise towards the Government and President Robert Mugabe’s efforts towards true independence. A few weeks ago American R&B sensation Joe Thomas commonly known as “Joe” who is well known for the hit song ‘Good Girls‘ visited the Republic. He didn’t seem to have a lot to say and stayed quite neutral when it came to issues related to the government. He was reported to have been paid around US$50,000 for his visit.
Most people understand the concept that you have to spend money to make money but I don’t know if spending that amount of money on musicians will do a lot to revive tourism. Yes, there may be a lot of hype around the period of their arrival but that dies down after their departure and life in Zimbabwe goes on as per normal. The musicians go back to doing what they do in their everyday lives with their pockets a little fatter. What the ZTA wants is for these musicians to act as ambassadors for Zimbabwe but I don’t see that as being much help especially when one of them was reported to have said he had not really heard of Zimbabwe until he was invited to the country.
The amount of money that the ZTA has spent on bringing Luciano and Joe to Zimbabwe could have gone to much better use. There are a number of ways in which the government could have used the rare foreign currency to benefit the people of Zimbabwe. I am not an expert on marketing but I am sure there are a number of long term measures they can implement to try and revive tourism. The ZTA say they also have stars such as Beyonce Knowles lined up to perform in Zimbabwe. With her international acclaim it will cost a fair penny to have her perform. If she does perform will it be money well spent or just a waste?