By Michael Gwarisa
THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is negotiating with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to reduce the number of roadblocks on the country’s major roads which have become an impediment to tourism, The Business Connect has learnt.
Responding to a question during an Update meeting on the kaza UNIVISA, ZTA chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke hinted that they were engaging with police extensively in a bid to bring finality to the issue of roadblocks.
“The issue of roadblocks is not only a menace on major highways but also on local roads, imagine i stay in Glenlorn but everyday i have to stop at three roadblocks before i get to work. That’s why i said earlier that Zimbabwe is doing little to portray itself as a tourist destination.
“Roadblocks are among things that affect Zimbabwe’s image from a tourism perspective. We are currently engaging the police over the issue. The tourism industry knows about the meetings and the efforts we are trying to put in resolving this issue of roadblocks.
“The last meeting we had with police, we agreed that we would meet before the end of this month and we are going to meet again. We have been meeting for a while now and i can assure you that the response we are getting is positive, we are now just waiting to see their word turn into real action,” said Kaseke.
Police have previously defended their heavy presence on the highways, saying this was meant to curb road carnage.
Meanwhile, plans to implement the Kaza Univisa system are at an advanced stage in an effort to ease the movement of visitors to both Zambia and Zimbabwe, especially those visiting the Victoria Falls area.
Immigration department Principal Director Clamence Masango applauded the progress made so and assured tourism players that they would benefit immensely from the new visa regime.
“Kaza Tfca countries must take full ownership of and responsibility over this programme if its is to be a success and a permanent feature in the facilitation of tourism and marketing of our products and destination.
“We also call upon and encourage the tourism and hospitality industry as the main beneficiaries to play a more active role in support of this programme as we go into the future. Processes are underway through the Kaza secretariat to invite the other KAZA Tfca countries, that is Angola, Botswana and Namibia to join the programme,” said Masango.
The Kaza Univisa project was first launched in 2014 on a pilot basis by Zimbabwe and Zambia before it was suspended at the end of the pilot program in January 2016 for review.
The reinstated uni-visa will be valid for 30 days, but to citizens of 65 countries in Category B of both Zimbabwe and Zambia visa regimes.
UNI VISA Most CATEGORY B:
The KAZA uni-visa allows holders to travel for an unlimited number of times between Zimbabwe and Zambia, for as long as they do not cross over into other countries such as Namibia, Angola, South Africa or Mozambique to name a few.