Zimbabwe’s tourism gets major boost

By Owen Mandovha

THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is thankful for the 100% retention of foreign currency earnings proclaimed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, saying this will fast track industry’s recovery from COVID-19.

International tourist arrivals in 2021 plunged a massive 72% compared to the pre COVID-19 pandemic levels and Zimbabwe’s own tourism sector was not spared.

To spur its speedy recovery, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe did not disappoint in Monday’s monetary policy statement and in a major paradigm shift tourism players are now allowed to retain 100 percent of their foreign currency earnings.

ZTA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Givemore Chidzidzi lauded government for this landmark policy shift, saying the timing is perfect.

“The timing for this incentive is very perfect given that we are looking at ways to recuperate from the ravages of the pandemic. We have a strategic plan that encompasses ways to rediscover the sector from the jaws of the pandemic, so this is going to harness their financial position,” he said.

Mr Chidzidzi noted that players in the sector will be able to recapitalise and undertake product development of their facilities.

“For the last 2 years revenue dipped due to COVID-19 restrictions as international tourist arrivals were reduced. So, it is imperative that players are given a little room to manoeuvre by sprucing up tourism facilities to match global standards. The retention of 100 percent of proceeds is a shot in the arm for the industry to recover.”

The sector feels the attainment of the US$5 billion tourism industry by the year 2025 is not off the rails, with such government support crucial to reach that goal.