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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Midlands province contributes to tourism policy review consultations

Story by Tafara Chikumira

TOURISM players in the Midlands province have called on relevant authorities to come up with appropriate infrastructure that stimulates growth of the sector.

Government officials are on a nationwide consultative process which is meant to review the Tourism Policy crafted in 2014.

The team met tourism players in the Midlands province where the issue of poor infrastructure was identified as the biggest hurdle affecting the growth of the industry.

“The issue of infrastructure is of paramount importance. Most tourists require good roads networks. They want to visit as many places as they can as they visit the country, but sometimes they are hampered by poor road networks. We also need to work on the signage factor as most places are not known. We also need to have a combined marketing strategy so that we give the tourists enough choice,” said Antelope Park spokesperson, Miss Lizzie Adams.

Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe representative, Mr Elpas Munyimi said, “There seems to be lack of clarity when discussing the Tourism Development Fund and Tourism Revolving Fund. It is like both funds are set for development of private sector business. It is our understanding the one was set to enable ZTA to develop industry through its activities for benefit of business ie training, human resources development, research and many others, while the revolving fund was set to be accessed by the business operators.”

Mr Brilliant Chibura, a conservator at Black Rhino Conservancy also said, “We need to come up with policies that protect our endangered species. We are privileged to have some of the rare species in the country and these can help us boost our tourism industry. The issue of connectivity is one area we also need to work on. We need more aerodromes and a proper railway network system for us to attract more tourists.”

Government says it is putting in place measures to ensure the tourism industry realises its full potential as explained by the Minister of the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu.

“The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry is therefore scaling up its efforts in working with communities to shore up the impact of tourism on local communities through the review of the National Tourism Policy. This is the very basic reason why I had to direct my Ministry to deploy provincial tourism officers right across all provinces in line with the Government policy on devolution. It is my desire that these officers lead in local tourism development efforts,” he said.

The tourism industry is showing signs of recovery post-COVID-19 after posting growth of 133 percent from around US$300 million in 2021 to US$700 million in 2022.

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