TOURISM BUSINESS COUNCIL OF ZIMBABWE VOICES SECTORAL CONCERNS AS SANGANAI 2019 CLOSES
(Posted 19th September 2019)
The Chairman of the Zimbabwe Tourism Business Council, Mr. Paul Matamisa, has during and at the end of this year’s Sanganai / Hlanganani World Tourism Fair in Bulawayo used the opportunity to impress upon government the various key elements required in order to conduct tourism business.
Paul was quoted to have said: ‘Fuel shortage in the country is so far a major handicap to the growth of the tourism sector. The availability of fuel is really not up to standard if we are looking at tourism‘.
Tour and safari operators, according to those spoken to during the Sanganai Tourism Expo, were united behind their trade organization in asking for more regular supplies of fuel for their cross country trips, where reportedly drivers often spend valuable time – at tourists expense – searching for the commodity.
Power cuts also affect hotels, lodges and guest houses which then require expensive diesel generators to stay powered up, as tourists expect to have the lights on 24/7.
Growth forecasts by the tourism council are in the region of 10 percent, but conditional on fuel supplies without which growth might be stunted.
It is understood that the Zimbabwe government is proposing a duty rebate on new safari vehicles and transfer busses with a carrying capacity from as low as 7 tourists to as many as 55 passengers, something the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe had advocated for in order to make new vehicles available at affordable prices.
The country is presently in the grip of an extended drought, which has seen water levels at Lake Kariba fall to record lows, further impacting on the country’s power generation capacity.
Said one safari operator on condition of anonymity to ATCNews during Sanganai: ‘Tourism, if well facilitated, can become the engine of growth for Zimbabwe’s economy. This sector like no other has the capacity to earn foreign exchange – the more tourists the more money comes into the country – create jobs and even generate foreign direct and local investments. Our sector can provide much needed solutions for our country’s economy and we hope that government understands that and supports the sector flat out so that we can live to our full potential‘.
The individual, as others, also appealed to ATCNews to highlight that the time to lift any and all sanctions against the country is now, given the devastating effect the drought has on the agricultural sector. Said another who had stood by listening:
‘Zimbabwe wants to freely trade, and while we accept foreign aid we are a people who like to accomplish much with our hard work. Opening trade opportunities for Zimbabwe will help our economy recover but it takes the goodwill of those countries which introduced sanctions. As of now, they only hit the people who can least afford the economic downturn, so we beg for that restrictive element to be removed from international relations‘.