By ZBC Reporter
The tourism sector in the Low Veld is anticipating a major rebound on the back of the COVID-19 mass vaccination programme that has seen some activities resuming for those who have been fully inoculated.
The Low veld is home to Gonarezhou National park and stakeholders in the tourism sector including operators are optimistic the COVID-19 vaccination exercise will open up the industry which is now focusing more on domestic tourists.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Head of Corporate Affairs Mr Godfrey Koti spoke on the importance of vaccination to the sector, giving reference to tourist arrival during periods where most people were not vaccinated.
The travel restrictions have put a strain to all of our customers coming, its arrivals etc. So we just do the best we can. We have an ongoing vaccination awareness programme and actual vaccination programme and I think it is going have a significant difference for people across the world and airlines.If we try to compare our performance since 2019 and the period before the pandemic, we find that our performance was not that good. In terms of international tourism arrival, we were down by 95% and for the local market we were down by 27%. But generally, in terms if all our visitors were down by 55%, said Koti.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chiredzi Area Manager Mrs Marvellous Sengwe expressed hope that the vaccination exercise would bring more tourists to the area, as the year 2020 had seen a significant drop in terms of room occupancy.
In 2020, our room occupancy dropped to 0% but due to the vaccination exercise, trainings and more awareness on the pandemic a lot more people are now comfortable in travelling hoping that by the end of 2021 we will see business beginning to boom once again in Chiredzi, she said.
The tourism sector is considered a vital part of the country’s economy due to its capacity to generate revenue and employment, hence the need for Zimbabweans to embrace vaccination and pave way for resumption of tourism activities.
The Low Veld offers a variety of tourism activities including a game drive in the Gonarezhou National Park and Save Conservancy.
There is also the attraction of fishing and boat cruises in the mighty Save River.