by DANIEL JONES
VICTORIA FALLS – ZIMBABWE requires at least US$300 million to revive its tourism industry.
This is according to the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Tourism as the industry continues bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The tourism facility needs to be increased to at least US$300 million but more importantly with streamlined formalities and at affordable rates over a long period of time like 36 months grace period,” said committee chair, Tapera Saizi.
He was speaking during a Parliament pre-budget seminar in the Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe last year came up with a ZWL$500 million (US$1,55 million) Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy revolving fund as part of a ZWL$18 billion fund meant to help industry recover from the effects of the pandemic.
Besides being inaccessible to industry, the fund was seen as insignificant compared to the needs of the industry.
“The tourism industry was first to be affected and last to recover,” Saizi said.
“There have to be a lot of recovery measures in this sector aimed to get it back to its feet. The tourism recovery facility is very crucial in new tourism establishments and refurbishments,” Saizi added.
Government has allowed the tourism industry to reopen when it relaxed lockdown restrictions from level 4 to level 2.
However, business has remained elusive in the absence of international clients.
Douglas Runyowa, Ministry of Tourism Chief Director, said the sector is still impaired and suffering from COVID-19 disruptions.
He concurred with the Portfolio Committee for need for Treasury support.
“We therefore request for support from Treasury and Parliament to set up this fund in the 2022 budget year so that there is guaranteed access to finance by our tourism players to enable tourism to recover,” Runyowa added.
The tourism ministry was engaging Treasury with regards to access to the funds.
Tourism contributes around 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product (GDP).
It employs more than 100 000 people in the country.
In Victoria Falls, over 90 percent of the population are dependent on tourism.
It is regarded as the only viable industry in the city.
– CAJ News