Government works on addressing overpricing in tourism
Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
GOVERNMENT is working on mechanisms aimed at addressing overpricing in the tourism industry including putting a system in place to prevent businesses from being established without the knowledge of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
Speaking in Victoria Falls during an inaugural Communication, Media and Tourism Training in Africa Workshop, Tourism and Hospitality recently, Industry Minister Barbara Rwodzi said Government had started clustering tourism activities as one of the mechanisms to address challenges facing the sector.
The workshop was organised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Government of Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA.)
“I think it’s not really about what we are doing about the product or destination but it is an issue of bringing people to the good experience. As Government, we are restructuring our tourism products because now people are focused on where they want to go and what they want to do,” she said.
“People want to come knowing what they will enjoy. Some get tired of seeing the same things and so it’s about activities that we need to add to a destination to add new experiences for the tourist.”
Minister Rwodzi said the focus is on developing cluster activities such as sports tourism, religious tourism, cultural tourism, arts, fishing and others.
She said Government was aware of operators that mushroom without knowledge of ZTA as the tourism regulator.
“You find an operator comes up with a product after going to the council and then starts to operate without ZTA knowing. So we are encouraging, now with the system that we are putting in place, everyone to engage ZTA who have to okay your business,” said Minister Rwodzi.
“Probably nine months into next year that system will be in place. No one will be allowed to start a tourism business without ZTA knowing and consenting. That is why now we have clusters.”
The minister said once the system is in place, everyone who wants to enter tourism will be whipped into line. This includes operators that charge exorbitantly.
There have been concerns about the high prices of tourism products in Victoria Falls with accommodation and activities charged higher than those in other countries within the Sadc region.
Concerns have also been raised about people who convert their houses into lodges without following procedures and registering with ZTA.
“High pricing is a very topical issue that has been spoken about for many years. That very same system is going to put everyone in line. We are aware that in Victoria Falls people are charged per head per room, and that profiteering should be addressed,” said Minister Rwodzi.
“We are already on the pathway to address that because it’s not good for the tourists, particularly domestic tourists.”