By Talent Katsande
ONE of the Zimbabwe’s major foreign currency earners, the Tourism Industry has been greatly affected during the outbreak of the global Covid 19 pandemic leaving thousands of workers jobless after five months of closure.
Workers in the tourism industry faced job losses which forced the industry operators to adopt forced leave or place some workers half salary since business was not forthcoming.
In an interview with Post On Sunday, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority spokesperson Godfrey “Chief” Koti said, the pandemic had a crippling impact on the tourism sector.
“In terms of revenue in Zimbabwe, we are sitting on a loss between US$500 million to US$1 billion worth of income…”
Following travel lockdown restrictions and global lockdown measures, the suspension of flights resulted in the cancellations of bookings by international travelers and tourists which reduced the potential revenue in the country. To that effect the country held a campaign that encouraged tourists consider visiting the country later when the situation improves.
At a press conference held on Thursday, the minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mangaliso Ndlovu, announced the reopening of the tourism industry since lockdown measures has been loosened.
“I am therefore, pleased to announce that following the cabinet approval, all tourism activities can now resume operations.”
While addressing the meeting, the minister emphasized the need to have a three phased approach which starts by growing domestic tourism, regional and the international market.
The domestic tourism acts as the starting point to give impetus and lure international travelers.
He also added that he wants the best case scenario out of tourism so he will unlock some domestic destinations which are currently inaccessible either through air or road.
Tourism players also advocated for wider collaborations amongst themselves rather than competing against each other.
The government come up with $500 million facility to assist players in the tourism sector and modalities of disbursement of funds will be announced in due course.