Tax rewards for hoteliers fighting climate change
from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS – ZIMBABWE is planning to offer incentives to tourism operators adapting to greening technology, as the country intensifies efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent in 2030.
Incentives would be in the form of tax rewards to operators embracing solar energy to reduce emissions in their operations.
There are concerns that idle services such as air conditioning, lighting and fridges which are kept running even without clients consume about 35 percent of energy used by hotels.
This raises overhead costs in the tourism industry.
“May the ministry of finance consider giving tax credits to operators who will go green by harnessing solar power and get off the national grid as this reduces power demand,” said Parliament Portfolio Committee on Tourism, chairperson, Tapera Saizi.
He said credit should be extended to those operators who will not be using fuel-powered cars but hybrid and electric cars.
Douglas Runyowa, the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality chief director, reiterated government aimed to reduce greenhouse emissions in the country by 40 percent by 2030.
“We would want to assure that we are willing to engage Treasury on the modalities on how we are going to implement recommendations,” he said.
“It’s very important in the light of nationally determined contribution that Zimbabwe is committing as a member of the Paris Agreement where we want to reduce our greenhouse gases emissions by 40 percent by the year 2030 across about 17 key economic activities including transport.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has also encouraged tourism operators to go green by embracing alternative clean energy.
Elephant Hills hotels recently received new gas cylinders that replaced the old equipment that emitted hydrogen gas.
The tourism sector met in July last year to craft a strategy on how to make the resort city a sustainable green tourism destination.
This is in line with recommendations from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for tourism players to implement programmes that sustain green tourism.
In Zimbabwe, green tourism was first mooted at the 2014 Sanganai/Hlanganani Expo in the capital Harare when the government implored the industry to start implementing the concept.
Zimbabwe became the first country in Africa to embrace the green tourism concept under which industry players are expected to harness environmentally friendly activities.
The then Ministry of Tourism launched the concept in Victoria Falls in 2016 when 13 hotels and lodges were recognised for embracing alternative energy.
Veronica Chapman, an “enviromengalist” said there is need for significant investment in green tourism especially now that the industry was beginning to show signs of recovery after months of the COVID-19 crisis.
“We had started the process of pushing towards green tourism but we were affected by COVID-19 but work has been happening behind the scenes and we are definitely continuing, said the Greenline Africa Trust director.
“There is a strong ministerial support and now that industry is slowly coming out of the COVID-19 turbulent times and people beginning to see the need for going green in the sector, we have to invest in sustainability.”
Mnangagwa, addressing the United Nations Climate Change (COP26) summit in Glasgow, Scotland, said Zimbabwe had committed conditional 40 percent per capita greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2030.
“Comprehensive strategies are being implemented towards mainstreaming climate change adaptation and resilience across all sectors of our economy,” Mnangagwa said.
– CAJ News