Vehicle duty free import scheme for the tourism sector hailed

By Tichaona Kurewa

Players in the tourism industry have given credit to government for coming up with the vehicle duty-free import scheme saying it has helped them to retool in the aftermath of the COVID -19 pandemic.

Government extended the suspension of duty to motor vehicles imported by safari and tour operators for a further two years beginning in January this year as part of a cocktail of measures to cushion the industry which was hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) Matabeleland North representative, Ms Barbra Murasiranwa clarified the importance of government’s intervention in the revival of the industry.

“Retooling of tourism needed enablers like this duty-free importation on vehicles. If all players grab it with both hands, the low hanging fruit in tourism will be harvested quickly. The scheme is a great welcome to the tourism recovery as players will just look at the cost of purchasing the vehicles and not worry about the duty there on. In the upcoming budget, we pray that the government continues to extend the dirty rebate on capital goods and safari vehicles,” she said.

For safari operator, Ms Sharon Stead, the scheme was equally handy in reviving tourism in the Hwange National Park.

“We have managed to import a number of vehicles under the scheme and we are grateful to the government for this opportunity which will greatly assist in reviving the tourism industry reeling from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.”

Zimbabwe is targeting a five billion tourism economy by 2025 and experts contend that the duty-free vehicle import scheme will assist in that endeavour.