25 per­cent tourism jump

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - BUSINESS NEWS - Ishe­mu­n­y­oro Ching­were Busi­ness Re­porter

THE Zim­babwe Parks and Wildlife Man­age­ment Author­ity (Zim­parks) has reg­is­tered a 25 per­cent jump in tourist ar­rivals at its re­sorts for the pe­riod Jan­uary to Oc­to­ber 2018, com­pared to the same pe­riod last year.

The in­crease is in line with Gov­ern­ment ef­forts un­der the Tran­si­tional Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Pro­gramme (TSP), through which Gov­ern­ment seeks to build a foun­da­tion for Vi­sion 2030. Zim­babwe seeks to achieve up­per mid­dle in­come sta­tus in the next twelve years.

Zim­Parks’ thrust is on in­creas­ing tourist ar­rivals as a pre­cur­sor to boost­ing tourism re­ceipts and em­ploy­ment cre­ation in the in­dus­try.

The Zim­babwe Tourism Author­ity (ZTA) has been tasked to work with in­dus­try play­ers to im­ple­ment pro­grammes aimed at achiev­ing this.

In a state­ment, Zim­parks said it re­ceived 706 359 tourists at its re­sorts in the first 10 months of this year, com­pared to 566 432 for the same pe­riod last year. The Author­ity at­trib­uted the in­crease to the good­will brought about by the new dis­pen­sa­tion in Novem­ber last year.

For­eign tourists con­tinue to dom­i­nate the mar­ket and this year they ac­counted for 59 per­cent, com­pared to the 41 per­cent for lo­cals. When com­pared to the pre­ced­ing year, for­eign ar­rivals alone reg­is­tered a 23 per­cent in­crease as 415 124 checked into lo­cal parks in the first 10 months of the year against 336 785 last year.

The ma­jes­tic Vic­to­ria Falls, which is one of the seven world won­ders, re­mains Zim­parks’s ma­jor tourist des­ti­na­tion, to­gether with des­ti­na­tions like Mana Pools, Ma­tobo and Hwange Na­tional Parks as well as Chin­hoyi Caves.

“Tourism is largely a sen­ti­ment busi­ness and we are grate­ful to the new dis­pen­sa­tion for the pos­i­tiv­ity it has brought on the coun­try,” Zim­parks spokesper­son Mr Ti­nashe Farawo told The Sun­day Mail Busi­ness.

“We are happy with how peo­ple have re­sponded to the pre­vail­ing peace and we hope the trend will con­tinue.

“While work will con­tinue to make sure we re­po­si­tion our parks and Zim­babwe as the pre­ferred global tourism des­ti­na­tion, we are at the same time work­ing on tai­lor made prod­ucts for the do­mes­tic mar­ket, which we feel re­mains largely un­tapped,” he said.

As part of boost­ing ar­rivals, the Author­ity is work­ing on re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing and up­grad­ing its ac­com­mo­da­tion units in a bid to max­imise re­ceipts from ar­rivals. Zim­Parks has al­ready set out a pro­gram that will see the in­vest­ment of $5, 6 mil­lion for the up­grade.

The pro­gramme will tar­get the Author­ity’s 250 ac­com­mo­da­tion units across the coun­try, which have a cur­rent car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of 880 beds. The plan is to up­grade these to four and five-star ho­tel sta­tus.

Mr Farawo claimed that Zim­Parks is now out of the woods af­ter con­cerns that were raised in the Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s re­port for the year 2016.

“The things raised in the 2016 au­dit were ef­fec­tively ad­dressed by changes that were done which saw the com­ing in of a new board of di­rec­tors made up of no­table cor­po­rate gu­rus led by Jus­tice (Moses) Chin­hengo as well as new Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral (Mr Fulton Mang­wanya).

“We are now very much com­pli­ant with all laws and tax reg­u­la­tions of the land and the new team has made sure that em­ploy­ees who were up to seven months in salary ar­rears have had their is­sues ad­dressed. We are on a pos­i­tive tra­jec­tory and we are look­ing for­ward to declar­ing a div­i­dend to the share­holder in the not so dis­tant fu­ture,” he said.

Mana Pools is one of Zim­babwe’s tourist des­ti­na­tions

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.