By Daniel Chigundu
GOVERNMENT says it has put in place measures that will see the country achieving about US$5billion revenue from the tourism sector through arrivals.
In a speech read on his behalf at the Stakeholders workshop on the ease of doing business in tourism and enabler sectors, chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said the target will be met through collaboration in the tourism sector.
“Government, working in collaboration with the tourism sector has set an ambitious goal to achieve a US$5billion revenue target on the basis of five million arrivals and 15 percent contribution to the gross domestic product.
“Currently the tourism sector is contributing US$1billion in revenue on the basis of two million arrivals and a GDP contribution of 11 percent. In order to achieve this target, a cocktail of measures have already been put in place by the government to promote the development of the tourism sector, this includes among others, and the crafting of the National Tourism Policy to ensure that tourism growth is guided by a robust enabling framework,” said Sibanda.
He added that government was working on identifying more growth opportunities through the National Tourism Master Plan, which is currently being finalised.
“As you may recall, in March this year Zimbabwe introduced a new visa regime which saw a number of countries such as China being moved from category C, to category B, thus allowing their nationals to apply for visas at the points of entry.”
Sibanda also said although Zimbabwe recorded a decline in tourist arrivals in the first half of the year from, he is however delighted in the increase of Chinese tourists into the country.
According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) preliminary first half tourist arrival results to the month of June, the country received 902 435 tourists compared to 930 277 recorded in 2015 in the same period.
The same reported indicated that while there was an overall drop in tourist arrivals into the country, Chinese arrivals increased by 32 percent in the same period.
Sibanda added that government will continue to review the legislative and regulatory environment affecting the tourism sector to allow for the increase in its growth and competitiveness.
Speaking at the same occasion, ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke bemoaned the negative perception the country has continued to receive from international surveys and reports adding that they work against the country’s competitiveness.
“We are aware that the current destination image is very negative. We are also ranking lowly in the destination competitiveness index. Furthermore, recently Harare, Zimbabwe was ranked third in the least livable cities, worse than war zone countries by CNN one of the widely viewed channels across the globe.
“True or false, this obviously reduces our competitiveness as a destination. We appreciate the platform that has been created by the government in bringing us together.
“I believe we will objectively and honestly raise key issues that are negatively impacting on doing business in Zimbabwe. Furthermore we should come up with concrete resolutions aimed at boosting tourism growth and its contribution to the national economy,” he said.-