By Martin Muleya
The Government of Zimbabwe is in a bid to resuscitate domestic tourism through a nationwide survey of the state of tourism areas following the launch of the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy by President Mnangagwa in August this year, so as to properly align provincial activities to the national strategy.
In his address during a National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy indaba that was held in the resort town of Nyanga on 1 October 2020 the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu said his two-day visit in Manicaland was premised on appreciating the environmental issues in the province.
“We are on a nationwide appreciation of the state of tourism in the country’s ten provinces so as to properly align provincial activities to this national strategy. We will be having tourism indabas at provincial level so that we help in the crafting of the provincial tourism strategy document.
“A lot of issues raised here should be articulated in the strategy so that we clearly assign roles and targets for monitoring and evaluation purposes. I believe a lot of issues that we see need to be attended to, can best be attended by ourselves here in Manicaland and in Nyanga to be precise,” said Min. Ndlovu.
He said Government of Zimbabwe was keen to see the growth of the tourism sector through the Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy launched by President Mnangagwa.
“On our part we commit to put all efforts to coordinate enhanced facilitation of travel and tourism to ensure destination competitiveness. We will continue to implement necessary reforms to provide you with conducive environment for tourism business to thrive.
“Plans are afoot to refurbish and expand facilities in the Vumba and Chimanimani national parks. In line with Cabinet resolution we will ensure development of recreational facilities around major dams, ZimParks will undertake development at Osborne dam and explore future developments at the Marovanyati dam in Buhera. I mentioned these developments because ZimParks have a key role to play in ensuring viable tourism product based in this area,” added Min Ndlovu.
He said the unique selling point for Manicaland province has always been its pristine ecosystem characterised by vast plantations, green species and unspoiled nature which all give a good scenery to tourists.
He however bemoaned that over the past years Government has been concerned by the downside created by deforestation, illegal mining activities, unlawful settlements and veldfires which have conspired to threaten the beauty upon which tourism as an industry thrives on, in Manicaland.
“Accessing finance by private sector is critical and Treasury has issued guidelines to facilitate players to access the Tourism Revolving Fund and the $500 million ZWL bank facility, all designed to improve access to capital in the wake of COVID 19 pandemic. We will closely monitor this process and hope we will benefit from your continued feedbacks so that we address challenges as they emerge,” he assured.
Min Ndlovu also highlighted that Government had made an undertaking that in the spirit of promoting domestic tourism there be a special waiver on all Value Added Tax (VAT) for all domestic tourism facilities and activities.