Leonard Ncube Victoria Falls Reporter
THE Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry plans to initiate annual carnivals in each of the country’s 10 provinces as a way of boosting tourism.
Tourism Deputy Minister, Anastasia Ndlovu, said this on Thursday night at the Jameson Victoria Falls Carnival here.
She said the recent carnival, which ended on New Year’s Eve was a success hence the need to spread the idea countrywide for the good of tourism.
“The carnival has been a huge success considering that 2015 has been a difficult year for most countries and especially looking at performance of other currencies against the United States dollar,” said Deputy Minister Ndlovu who is also chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water and Climate.
She said although this year’s edition of the carnival was smaller than last year’s, it had brought more business for operators.
“Yes it was a bit smaller than last year’s edition but it was a success because hotels were full. We’ve the Harare International carnival and as part of our plans we hope to spread this idea to each of the country’s provinces,” she added.
An estimated 5,000 people attended the Jameson Victoria Falls Carnival.
Deputy Minister Ndlovu said the tourism sector had ended the year on a positive note.
“It’s been a good year for the sector although we struggled during the first quarter because of the 15 percent VAT on accommodation but we managed to adjust. We hosted a number of international events and that endorsed us as a major destination. We, however, need to invest more in ensuring that as a country we continue hosting multiple conferences,” she said.
The Deputy Minister said there was a need to speedily implement and finalise initiatives aimed at rejuvenating economic growth, which President Mugabe put across in the 10-Point Plan.
Turning to the Victoria Falls International Airport whose construction has been completed and awaits commissioning, Deputy Minister Ndlovu said talks were underway with a number of countries with a view of having their national airlines flying into the resort town.
“As much as what happens there is the business of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, our minister (Walter Mzembi) has been in touch with other countries such as Turkey for Turkish Airlines to land in Victoria Falls,” she said.
However, there has been concern about Zimbabwe being an expensive destination compared to other countries in the region and Deputy Minister Ndlovu said it was important for players to strike a balance between pricing and business.
She commended tourism players and operators for their resilience and managing to negotiate for business during tough times.