Tourism sector calls for green initiative

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube, Online Reporter

PLAYERS in the tourism sector in Victoria Falls have implored Government to come up with an all-encompassing policy that promotes green tourism and product diversification.

Contributing during a tourism stakeholder engagement workshop hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry in the tourism capital this afternoon, various stakeholders drawn from a cross section of the sector said the destination was tainted as very expensive compared to other resorts in the country and the region.

They said there is a need to invest in more new products so as to increase the number of days visitors spend in the city.

Currently, some tourists visit Victoria Falls to do activities during the day and cross either to Livingstone in Zambia or Kasane in Botswana where accommodation is cheaper compared to Victoria Falls packages.

Stakeholders said policy inconsistencies affect the industry as it results in lack of collaboration as players compete against each

They said there is need for improvement on accessibility to the destination both through road and air transport, with the state of the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road a cause for concern as it is threatening to cut the destination from the rest of the country and region.

There is also a need to add more tourism types such as sport, religious, culinary and events tourism to be able to attract more

Premier Guest Lodge proprietor Mrs Abigail Nemaungwe said the new policy should open space for activities that cater for younger children and youth.

Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe representative Mrs Barbara Murasiranwa-Hughes said the tourism sector wants to be involved on policy making to avoid inconsistencies.

“The current situation promotes people to do wrong: we want to do the right thing because we love our destination and our country,” she said.

The current tourism policy was promulgated in 2014 and the Government is consulting the industry to get views on what should be included in the new policy.

The first meeting was held in Gweru, with Bulawayo coming in second and Victoria Falls 3rd.

The team will then move to Matabeleland South as consultations spread to all the 10 provinces.

Director for International Tourism and Cooperation in the Ministry of Tourism Mr Douglas Mavhembu said the current policy has been overtaken by time especially in the wake of technological developments.

“We have embarked on the process of reviewing our national tourism policy which we promulgated in 2014 and there are a number of processes and events that have occasioned this process of reviewing the policy,” he said.

Mr Mavhembu said the process was meant to realign policy with Vision 2030 and to allow tourism to contribute to national development.

Under the National Development Strategy (NDS1), tourism is one of the critical pillars of Zimbabwe’s economy and the sector has a target of achieving US$5 billion in earnings by 2025.

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Article Source: The Chronicle

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