Liberalisation policies lead to growth of tourism sector

By Tichaona Kurewa

PLAYERS in the tourism industry are riding on the success of government policies that have enabled their enterprises to flourish, with Victoria Falls a shining example of the massive transformation.

The advent of the Second Republic has come with massive transformation in various sectors through improvement in the ease of doing business.

In tourism, the government has put in place several policies that include duty-free importation of tourism capital equipment, one hundred per cent retention on foreign currency, online registration of tourism players and designation of Victoria Falls as a Special Economic Zone.

This has gone far in opening this key sector to indigenous players in pursuit of Vision 2030, hence the majority have nothing but praise for the Second Republic.

“Through government’s initiative and promotion of inclusivity, we have seen a rise in players in lodges, cruise companies and camps in national parks where several indigenous players are getting in.

“This has come through the initiative of the National Development Strategy One, which recognises tourism as one of the major drivers of the economy and we have seen a rise in more people getting into the tourism sector,” said Gerald Zumbika, MJAir director.

He added: “More recently, we have indigenous players now offering helicopter flights over the Victoria Falls.”

“The facilitation from the government has led to many individuals and companies, who in the past would not have been able to venture into the tourism sector, but now they can achieve it because of the opening of the economy to many players by the government.”

Entry into the tourism sector by black Zimbabweans is now easier, there is more room and areas where black people can now get into and contact their business.

“We have received a lot of support from the government that has enabled us to grow. We have been granted tax breaks to import equipment such as vehicles and others we need. What that does is that it works well for our bottom line. Our profits are high and our staff is also comfortable with these tax rebates,” noted a tourism operator, Tatenda Makuzha.

“Being able to come from the United Kingdom and being able to get into different offices and get assistance, you feel like you are being assisted by your people. This helped in the setting up of our business. The processes and the policies are enabling us to start our own business,” added another tourism entrepreneur, Brian Zulu.

The efforts to open up the tourism sector are also key in the country’s quest to achieve a US$5 billion tourism industry by 2025.