Rebranding Zimbabwe Through Tourism and Hospitality Variables: The Reality of Nation Branding

Clever Vutete, Farai Chigora

Abstract


Zimbabwe faced some negative media publicity on issues about economic recession, political violence, rule of law, commodity shortages and general instability, and has a dire need to reposition itself to compete with other economies in Africa and the world over for attention and business networks. Branding a nation using Anholt (2002), Gilmore(2002) and other models seems to be hard for a developing nation due to their emphasis on politics and economics. These models are likely to create split identities for brand Zimbabwe. There could be a need to use one key variable like tourism and hospitality to reposition the country as an attractive destination to the outside world. The research aimed at finding out the attractiveness and resonance of tourism variables and events to foreigners, creating a linkage of tourism variables to the broad brand Zimbabwe dimensions, and recommending
tourism based brand positioning statements. A descriptive and comparative study was used in this research. The
study first took an exploratory in-depth interview with 3 foreigners and 3 locals to establish key parameters for
the tourism and brand Zimbabwe variables. The second phase involved a survey consisting of 100 foreigners
and 100 Zimbabweans taken from tourism and hospitality sector. Purposive sampling and quota sampling were
used in the study. The study established music as one of the attractive tourism variables along events like Travel
Expo, Carnivals and HIFA. Education, Mining, Farming, Hardworking and Peace were found to be highly linked
to tourism variables. Victoria Falls and Great Zimbabwe was rated as one of the key brand positioning statement.
The recommendations include use of partnerships with both local and foreign business entities and promoting
Victoria Falls and Great Zimbabwe to achieve high destination distinctiveness that spruce up Brand Zimbabwe.
An alternative model – Brand Pentagon for Zimbabwe, was developed.

Keywords


Tourism and Hospitality; Brand Zimbabwe; Brand Equity; Rebranding; Nation Branding

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