Vice President of Zimbabwe Constantino Chiwenga has officially opened the National Tourism Sector Strategy Workshop to map the way for an industry that has lasted for over 20 years without a national vision. The workshop, where the Vice President was the guest of honour was attended by the Minister of Tourism, Prisca Mupfumira, captains of the tourism industry and other players in the sector.
“The new political despasantion under the current leadership of the President of Zimbabwe Emerson Daumbudzo Mnangagwa is commited to a new economy characterised by equal opportunities for all citizens and residents to thrive through private initiatives and enterprise,” said the Vice President.
The Retired General also said that stakeholders in the tourism sector should take advantage of the new outlook created by the new dispensation to the world.
The consultative workshop is expected to bring a vision for the tourism sector which is said to have been running without even a mission after Zimbabwe’s independence 37 years ago. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Dr Karikoga Kaseke who was presenting on the strategic direction said that the sector was running under the former Minister of Tourism Walter Mzembi which reads “Fifty, fifty-five, 2020”. Kaseke, who did not explain what Mzembi’s words meant, said that the vision was to come out through consulting with stakeholders and not to be given by Ministers. The workshop is also going to lay out objectives and the way forward in the tourism sector.
Apart from holding consultative workshops around the country, the government has also upgraded the Victoria Falls airport to increase its carrying capacity to accommodate 1, 5 million visitors from 500 thousand people. The Vice President told stakeholders that plans are also there for the Mutare and Beitbridge airports as well as refurbishing the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport that was once called Harare International Airport. The government is also refurbishing roads in tourist attraction centers to ensure that driving becomes easy according to Chiwenga. Zimbabwe’s infrastructure is still in shutters as roads are full of potholes with a slow growth in rooms to accommodate tourists in resort hotels.
Consultative workshops are also going to be conducted in other urban areas including Bulawayo and Gweru. Zimbabwe received US$800 million from tourism in the past year.