THE Zimbabwe tourism industry is beginning to wake up from its slumber with the country’s prime tourist destinations starting to witness increased activities and bookings ahead of the festive season, officials in the industry have said.
Zimbabwe, which according to the Zimbabwe Council of Tourism (ZCT) heavily depends on tourists from the neighbouring South Africa, has been struggling to tick largely because of the slump of the rand against the United States dollar.
But with the festive season approaching, players in the industry said they are expecting a boon with hotels and activities in the resort area of Victoria Falls already seeing an improved number of bookings for the months of November and December.
Tourism Employees and Tour Operators Association president Clement Mkwasi told Zimpapers Syndication that some hotels in the resort town of Victoria Falls were already fully booked for November and December.
“Likewise, some activities are already fully booked for the month of November and December here in Victoria Falls. This is expected of the festive season in a prime and world class tourist destination like the Victoria Falls. We are inundated with tourists making inquiries for the festive seasons,” he said.
Mkwasi said the culture of using plastic money that the country recently embraced is likely to improve business within the industry with tourists not necessarily needing to carry hard cash as has been the norm.
“We are having a number of domestic tourists also taking advantage of the plastic money to place their bookings,” he said.
Mkwasi said the coming in of the bond notes in the coming weeks was expected to help ease cash crisis thereby improving business.
“There has been some reservations with regards to the introduction of the bond notes but as an industry I don’t think this is really an issue to us.
The fact that they will be in smaller denominations will ease pressure in doing small business transactions like buying food and change,” he said.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe president George Manyumwa said 2016 was a bad year for the tourism industry but the situation was beginning to change with the festive season.
“The festive season has always been the yardstick on which to measure our business for the year. We are beginning to feel it. Business is picking now and we hope things will continue in this positive direction.
Manyumwa said tourism players would be convening an annual congress later next month to review the year.
“With the slump of the rand in value against the dollar, the liquidity crunch among other factors, this year has been one to forget for the industry.
But we hope to convene our annual congress next month to reflect on the year and come up with strategies that can make this important industry to the Zimbabwean economy grow,” he said. - Zimpapers Syndication.