The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday News Reporter
CABINET has approved the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Plan, a strategy meant to uplift the Covid-19 stricken Zimbabwean tourism sector and transform it into a US$5 billion industry by 2023.
Tourism, a mainstay in the country’s economy, has been hard hit by the global pandemic, with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority last week saying the country could lose as much as US$1 billion due to Covid-19.
The country received between 2.2 and 2.6 million visitors from 2017 to 2019, but that is set to significantly decline with airlines grounded and international travel restricted.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa outlined some of the key pillars of the strategy which included a ZW$500 000 000 and a Value Added Tax (VAT) waiver on domestic tourism.
“As part of the pillars of the recovery strategies, it should be recalled that Government has already put in place a Tourism Sector Support Scheme under the Stimulus Package, whose key aspects are as follows: a Government Guarantee Facility of ZW$500 000 000.00; a ZW$20 000 000.00 Tourism Revolving Fund; a waiver of Value Added Tax (VAT) on domestic tourism; deferment of liquidation of foreign currency paid by international clients; support for Zimbabwe Tourism Authority; and payment of money owed to Tourism Operators by various Government Institutions. The financial support will enable the sector to expand, refurbish and modernise their facilities in line with international standards,” Minister Mutsvangwa noted.
The development of a comprehensive tourism communication plan is also in the pipeline, Minister Mutsvangwa said.
“The strategies will involve Domestic Tourism Promotion; Regional Tourism Promotion; Destination Branding and Image Transformation; Digital Marketing Campaign; Diaspora Tourism Promotion and International Tourism Promotion. The other strategies also include Promotion of Meeting Incentives Conferences and Events (MICE) Tourism; Wide Scale Roll-out of the Service Excellence Programme; Tourism Health, Safety and Hygiene Protocols; and the development of a Tourism Communication Plan,” she noted.