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Call for legislation to share revenue with local communities

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

LEGISLATION for sharing tourism revenue and levies with local communities has become a topical issue during Tourism Amendment Bill consultations in Victoria Falls.

The socio-economic and political dispensation of the country when the existing tourism law was enacted was different from the prevailing situation.

This has prompted a new law that speaks to the current political and economic setup in the country and international best practices.  

Tourism Amendment Bill consultations were held in Victoria Falls this Monday, with players noting the need to improve the operating environment and access to capital equipment.

“We want the new act to make it mandatory for youths to be appointed on the ZTA board because they are the leaders of today, they need to grow experienced in tourism,” said one of the tourism players.

Another added, “Most important is the inclusion of vehicles and all that equipment that we need  to work with in tourism, importation of vehicles duty-free must be properly facilitated instead of people working for eight months to a year to get a single vehicle or a quantum bus to come in the country.”

“All operators must be encouraged to plough back in the communities that they serve in by participating in corporate social responsibility programs that would plough back into the communities, that has to be compulsory,” said Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe, Matebeleland North representative, Mrs Barbra Murasiranwa-Hughes.

City of Victoria Falls Town Clerk, Mr Ronnie Dube said, “The other thing that must come out clear is the revenue sharing models among the players in areas that have tourist destinations and ministry of tourism. I think a plan can be worked out so that there is proper revenue sharing. This is to ensure that these areas can sustain themselves, the money that is obtained from tourism in order to keep the standards being shown to our tourists in good shape.”

Government shared some of the talking points that should be included in the Tourism Amendment Bill.

“The Zimbabwe Tourism Fund is configured in such a way that it is not elevated to the level of its actual importance but is rather a hidden part within the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority. This has necessitated the reconfiguration of the Zimbabwe Tourism Fund for it to serve its deep purpose of Tourism infrastructure development and Tourism Promotion. The tourism fund must be used to develop critical tourism infrastructure such as convention centres and the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road,” said the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Barbara Rwodzi.

The tourism and hospitality industry contributes 5.7 per cent to the national Gross Domestic Product and 3.5 per cent to total employment in the country.

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