Tourism geared to turn around Zim econ­omy

The Manica Post - - Business - Der­ick Tsimba Post Cor­rre­spon­dent

ZIM­BABWE’S tourism in­dus­try has the po­ten­tial to turn around the econ­omy through in­creased tourism ac­tiv­i­ties at the coun­try’s tourism re­sort ar­eas. Zim­babwe’s tourism in­dus­try ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at turn­ing around the econ­omy have been given a ma­jor boost by the Op­er­a­tion Re­store Legacy that un­folded on 14 Novem­ber 2017 un­veil­ing a new era, where Zim­babwe is open for busi­ness.

The mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion in the coun­try ush­ered in a new Govern­ment which en­sured that Zim­babwe opened up for busi­ness. The new Govern­ment of Zim­babwe has since com­mit­ted it­self to honour­ing its obli­ga­tions in re­la­tion to busi­ness, be it in the travel, trade and any re­lated sec­tor.

Over the years, Zim­babwe had lagged be­hind in many ar­eas as a re­sult of the global iso­la­tion due to the er­rors of the past. The iso­la­tion left Zim­babwe’s once-rich tourism sec­tor in a sorry state.

As a way of re­gain­ing its sta­tus, the tourism in­dus­try should re­gain and im­prove its 30% mar­ket share which it used to re­ceive from over­seas mar­ket in the 90s when tourism was at its peak. Cur­rently, this con­tri­bu­tion has since dropped to less than 15% of the in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals into Zim­babwe mainly be­cause of the neg­a­tive im­age as­so­ci­ated with the for­mer pres­i­dent.

Ma­jor bar­ri­ers af­fect­ing the growth of tourism in Zim­babwe are be­ing re­moved, one of them be­ing the nu­mer­ous road­blocks that had be­come a men­ace to for­eign tourists and lo­cal traf­fic. Tourists should be left to en­joy their drive around the coun­try as they used to do in the past.

Govern­ment has also pri­ori­tised road main­te­nance of ma­jor roads, most of which are re­ceiv­ing ur­gent at­ten­tion. Govern­ment has also com­mit­ted it­self to ad­dress­ing hin­drances that in­hibit travel within Zim­babwe to en­sure tourists travel from the point of en­try and exit con­ve­niently. Some of the con­ve­nience be­ing ini­ti­ated in­clude the ease of fa­cil­i­ta­tion at the bor­der posts and the lib­er­al­iza­tion of the visa regime.

To date, Govern­ment has re­viewed the visa regime with 29 coun­tries which saw those coun­tries be­ing up­graded from Cat­e­gory C to Cat­e­gory B which fa­cil­i­tates tourists to at­tain visas at the port of en­try.

Through these ef­forts, the Govern­ment has shown its readi­ness to wel­come trav­ellers to Zim­babwe and to pro­mote the growth of the tourism in­dus­try.

Play­ers in the tourism in­dus­try should utilise the nu­mer­ous re­sources in the coun­try that have the po­ten­tial to be­come tourism at­trac­tions for the ben­e­fit of the na­tion through value ad­di­tion and wealth cre­ation.

The coun­try has well known tour- ism at­trac­tions which in­clude Vic­to­ria Falls, one of the Seven Won­ders in the World. Zim­babwe has also been en­dowed with her­itage sites and vast na­tional parks which pro­vide a re­lax­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to tourists.

Min­is­ter of Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try, Prisca Mup­fu­mira has since been pro­mot­ing the tourism in­dus­try abroad since she be­came the Min­is­ter. She is on record say­ing Zim­babwe has been of late pre­sent­ing var­ied op­por­tu­ni­ties in var­i­ous sec­tors such as min­ing, agri­cul­ture, health, avi­a­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ing, wa­ter and most im­por­tantly in the tourism in­dus­try.

Op­por­tu­ni­ties have been un­locked in the Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones and Trans-fron­tier Con­ser­va­tion Ar­eas which will see the de­vel­op­ment of ho­tel and cater­ing in­dus­try, sa­fari and tour op­er­a­tions, gam­ing and con­struc­tion of in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions among other de­vel­op­ments.

To sup­port the sus­te­nance of the tourism in­dus­try, Govern­ment has also com­mit­ted it­self to of­fer­ing tourism in­vest­ment in­cen­tives such as duty ex­emp­tions and re­bates on cap­i­tal goods for tourism de­vel­op­ment zones as well as the pro­vi­sion of the tourism fund.

With this in mind, tourists should con­sider Zim­babwe as their next des­ti­na­tion for in­vest­ment and tourism busi­ness. They are wel­come in Zim­babwe which re­mains one of the most peace­ful na­tions in the world. Tour- ists should be part of the tran­si­tion to re­po­si­tion Zim­babwe to its yes­ter­year glory. Zim­babwe has al­ways been the favourable des­ti­na­tion to visit, the tourist’s des­ti­na­tion of choice and also the favourable in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion for in­vestors.

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