Tennis Zimbabwe in tourism drive

Shelly Guni

Tennis Zimbabwe general manager Kupakwashe Mukurumbira believes the hosting of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) South Central Circuit Zimbabwe Leg 6 Tournament in Bulawayo will boost the country’s tourism sector.

Zimbabwe is set to host the international juniors’ tournament from November 25 to December 10 at the Bulawayo Country Club.

The tournament is part of the ITF World Tennis Juniors Tour, a development tour that provides players aged 18 and under the opportunity to travel the world and develop their talent.

Speaking during a press conference in Harare this morning, Mukurumbira said:

“Sport tourism is a key driver of growth in the global sports economy with its current market size valued at $323 million and projected to reach $1 Billion by 2030. Global tennis grand slams such as the Wimbledon, French Open , Australian Open and US Open are known to contribute significantly to the global sport tourism sector.

“The hosting of this event provides a unique opportunity for TZ to market the country as a sport tourism destination of choice whilst developing the capacity of local administrators to host international tennis events.

“Tennis Zimbabwe is anticipating that an estimated USD$122 000 will be generated through sport tourism activities during the hosting of this event,” he said.

Mukurumbira added that the hosting of international tennis events is now a core part of Tennis Zimbabwe’s new strategic thrust to use tennis as a tool to contribute to socio-economic development and realization of national development goals.

The ITF World Tennis Juniors Tour provides a launch pad for the best players to go on and achieve success in the professional game.

Featuring over 650 tournaments in 140 countries, the Tour sees players compete across six levels of tournament from JA which includes the Junior Grand Slams through to J1, J2, J3, J4 and J5.

“TZ recently developed a new strategic plan which will direct the organization for the coming four years. The new strategy is deliberate and objective in developing and naturing junior tennis talent.

“The hosting of international events now forms part of TZ’s mandate to expose developmental tennis players to competition at the highest level. This tournament also serves as a way for effectively ranking players based on international performance.”

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