Zimbabwe: Tourism Feels the Pinch

Kariba Bureau

TOURISM players have called on Government to come up with policies that provide social cover and create conditions for its recovery from Covid-19 induced restrictions.

Sector capacity utilisation has dropped to five percent down from festive season levels where hotel occupancy was between 50 percent and full occupancy.

The sector had been showing signs of resurgence from the first wave of the Covid-19 buoyed by domestic tourism before the more virulent second wave that forced the Government to declare another lockdown.

Tourism players have called on government to maintain or review some policies affecting the tourism sector to ensure its speedy recovery after the slump.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) immediate past president Mr Innocent Manyera said the move to lockdown the country by Government was commendable but the tourism sector needed policy interventions to ensure it recovered quickly.

Tourism is regarded as a low hanging fruit for the country’s drive to attain middle income economic status by 2030 with a contribution of at least 10 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“As operators, we are facing quite a rough patch and it’s no longer a sneeze but in actual fact we are off the rails in terms of business where we are talking about less than 5 percent capacity utilisation of all the travel and tourism industry,” said Mr Manyera.

“It’s a bad situation. End of last year we were in recovery mode. We are back at zero. The lockdown is necessary because we need our guests, workers and everyone to be safe.