open access

Abstract

Purpose: There is tremendous potential for vibrant township tourism in Zimbabwe. The country boasts an abundance of township tourism resources such as monuments of colonial history, administrative centers, informal sector activities, co-existence of traditional and modern cuisine, art and craft centers, community markets, iconic personalities and buildings, and others. Despite this rich heritage of tourism resources, township tourism has failed to attract a critical mass of clients to make it viable thereby depriving the country of potential revenue of this form of alternative tourism.  Keeping this in mind, the main objective of the study was to develop a model for packaging and popularising township tourism in Zimbabwe.

Method: The study adopted a qualitative methodology. Data were collected from Tour operators, residents, and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority through participant observations and in-depth interviews. Data were analyzed using a thematic approach.

Results:  The study revealed key challenges to the growth of township tourism being lack of finance, lack of support from authorities, illegal operators, and limited access to markets, stringent operational laws, and poor understanding of the concept. Furthermore, tour operators and residents were of the view that information should be disseminated through publicity associations, using brochures and travel shows to aid in popularising township tourism. Respondents highlighted the need for educating all stakeholders on township tourism and creating mutual relationships.

Implications: Recommendations included stakeholder involvement and tour operators’ in-depth knowledge of iconic tourism resources in the township. It further recommends a strategic partnership with international tour operators offering township tourism.