The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government will prioritize the growing of the domestic market as one of its strategies aimed at expediting the recovery of the tourism sector in the aftermath of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Speaking after the post Covid-19 tourism recovery consultation meeting with players in the tourism and hospitality industry on Tuesday Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said as part of efforts to revive the country’s tourism sector the Ministry would start off by exploring ways of growing the domestic market as well as coming up with diversified tourism packages.
“Obviously we are expecting that international tourism will take some bit of time to recover and we are looking at domestic tourism as an immediate source of relief and I think over time we have really not given it attention and it took centre stage today,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu said during the meeting it was realised that there were a number of factors that are militating against the growth of domestic tourism chief among these being the pricing model.
“The sector highlighted that there are other enablers, there are other players who are providing services to the sector whose rates are quite high. They made mention of local authorities, electricity and the like. This mandates us to have these broader discussions to collaborate to drive down the costs, so that our locals can begin to travel but we are saying that’s the first phase of recovery of domestic tourism,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu said there was a need to ensure the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country and the region remains contained so as to ensure the speedy recovery of the tourism sector.
“Beyond that we are seeing regional tourism coming back, thankfully as a region we are really not hard hit by Covid-19. It might take long before regional tourism roars into life so we are getting ready for that as well. In the medium to long term, we are looking at our airports opening for international space,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu also said efforts were underway to identify other tourists packages that have been previously been overlooked.
“We have not been getting the best out of our tourism. So we have taken this opportunity to look for other areas where we can do better such as service excellence and how we treat our clients. We also have to be unlocking other domestic destinations, which are currently inaccessible either through air or road, ” he said.