ZImbabwe promotes domestic tourism
The Zimbabwe government is this month expected to launch a new tourism and hospitality policy that will promote domestic tourism to boost the sector’s mandate as one of the key drivers of growth und
The Zimbabwe government is this month expected to launch a new tourism and hospitality policy that will promote domestic tourism to boost the sector’s mandate as one of the key drivers of growth under the Zim Asset economic strategy, Newzimbabwe.com has been told.
This story was reported in Zimbabwe media.
Tourism Minister, Walter Mzembi, said the policy – which he expected President Robert Mugabe to announce any time this month – envisaged a tourism sector that is government-led and private sector driven and seeks to designate the entire country as a tourism development zone.
A key element of the policy involves the application of indigenisation regulations to “redistribute the economic opportunity in the sector by making sure that the $2.6bn or so of stock that is in the tourism sector complies with our economic empowerment laws, and in such a manner that it does not disturb existing stock but seeks to grow it,” he said.
When the former indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere last year published a notice directing companies investing in the tourism industry to comply with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, critics voiced concern that this would snuff out the recovering tourism industry.
However, the government pressed on, with Mzembi reiterating at the signing ceremony for the proposed Hilton Hotel in Harare in September that foreigners who wished to venture into the tourism sector had to be prepared to comply with the country’s indigenisation laws.
While the Zim Asset document extols the “tremendous potential” of the tourism sector and the benefits accrued from the successful co-hosting of the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly by Zimbabwe and Zambia, it also acknowledges the challenges that remain, including poor connectivity of local destinations and perceived country risk.
But on the latter, Mzembi believes the battle of perceptions has been won.
“The main feature of the next five year tenure [for me as Minister] will be the refocusing of the entire team onto domestic tourism – we haven’t really touched on it,” he said.
“Our first five years were basically meant to deal with the issue of perception of the product (Zimbabwe) as viewed from external source markets, and I think we have won that battle as evidenced by the coming of the UNWTO General Assembly to our destination.”