By Luckmore Safuli
Government has expressed satisfaction with the tourism industry’s state-of-preparedness ahead of resumption of international flights on the 1st of October and has assured the sector of continued support.
Zimbabwe which is targeting to transform the tourism sector into US$5 billion dollar tourism industry, has intensified efforts to reposition the sector ahead of the resumption of international flights with major focus area being the safety of the visitors.
Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu who recently had a chance to interact with the Victoria Falls tourism players expressed satisfaction with ongoing work in preparing for the arrival of international tourists.
“We were also trying to encourage each other to improve in terms of the state of preparedness and also to anticipate the opening of international flights. We are aware of the importance of making sure that when our visitors come they will be our biggest ambassadors,” he said.
As part of efforts to improve the state of preparedness government health officials are expected in the resort town before the 21st of September to train hotel staff on how to handle the international visitors in line with agreed protocols.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe HAZ Vice President Mr Farai Chimba, however, bemoaned the high cost of resuming business for most tourism players citing among other things the high cost of PCR tests.
“The destination is fully prepared now to take visitors, both domestic and international tourists. We are confident that we are ready for the task. The other issues that we discussed is the issue on the cost of testing which remains a major hindrance for most tourism players,” says Chimba.
Tourism players also expressed concern over inability to get vehicle fitness test and route authority certificates as the Vehicle Inspectorate Department depot is still closed for business.
Shortage of smaller USD denominations, poor state of the roads, ongoing staff retrenchments and delays in the roll out of the tourism rescue package were some of the issues that were raised.