By BRIGHTON MURONZEREYI
TOURISM minister Mangaliso Ndhlovu says Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is on a growth trajectory with arrivals improving.
Speaking in the National Assembly yesterday during the Junior Parliamentarians debate on ways to improve the country’s tourism sector, Ndhlovu said the country is witnessing the growth in tourists’ arrivals from all over the globe following the relaxation of Covid-19 regulations.
“During the first half of 2022, the tourism sector shows strong signs registering a 115 percent increase in tourism arrivals compared to the same period last year and tourism receipts have also increased by 121 percent in 2022 to reach US$327 million compared to US$ 252 million in 2021.
“A sharp increase in domestic entries in the national parks during the first quarter of this year is again a sign of strong recovery in the sector.
“The same period we recorded a 79 percent increase in new investments in the sector, a total of US$ 96.5 million was recorded,” he said.
Ndhlovu also said the last three years were difficult for the tourism sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic which restricted travel.
“As we enter the recovery path, competition to attract tourists globally will be more challenging and l’m more than confident that our tourism industry is equally equipped.
“As government we came up with a waiver to all domestic tourists where we contribute to cheaper rates and if you are a Zimbabwean ordinarily in a hotel or facility you should not be charged 15 percent Value Added Tax component.”
Ndhlovu added that the government was doing everything to market tourist destinations which have not been known.
“We have a programme to visit areas which are not known. We have been to four provinces of the country to package and market our tourism resorts areas and our officials are helping to package and market them locally and internationally.
“I appeal to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) to have a memorandum of understanding which will allow junior parliamentarians to become tourism ambassadors,” Ndhlovu said.
Meanwhile, Ndhlovu said tourism players should come together and offer services to visitors in a one stop shop.
“l like the approach which is being implemented by players in Nyanga and they give you 20 activities, they have come together and if one want to do mountain climbing they will be offered by the next player, so these is the approach we are encourage right across the board so that one visits they don’t have to go from one place to the other.
“We are in talks with the ministry of Transport for the upgrade and revival of some airstrips across the country in Kariba, Binga, Chipinge and Masvingo to make sure that every province has a landing strip or airport capable of hosting our tourists.” – Daily News