Tourism industry welcomes split of ministries
Leonard Ncube, Online Reporter
PLAYERS in the tourism industry have welcomed the separation of the Tourism and Environment Ministries, saying this will improve turnaround time and attention to specific issues affecting them.
In the previous Parliament, tourism and environment were under one parent Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry under Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu as the Minister and Barbara Rwodzi as deputy.
Appointing the new Cabinet last week, President Mnangagwa split the Ministry into two-Environment, Climate and Wildlife led by Minister Ndlovu and Tourism and Hospitality Industry with Minister Rwodzi being elevated to lead the new Ministry.
Minister Ndlovu retained the Environment Ministry.
In an interview in Victoria Falls, industry players welcomed the new Minister and the new portfolio, but also expressed concern that working with some departments especially Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and Forestry Commission may be affected as these are key tourism enablers.
Zimparks and Forestry Commission are now under the Ministry of Environment.
“Having a stand-alone ministry as opposed to having a combined ministry is a give and take situation.
As a stand-alone ministry, we will get all the attention that is due to us without being eclipsed by other departments within the former parent Ministry,” said Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe president Mr Wengayi Nhau.
He said the tourism industry will get undivided attention as the minister will be focused on the industry alone.
“But the flip side of it is that our major stakeholders and enablers in as far as delivering tourism products and experience are Zimparks and Forestry Commission and it has always been easier to interact with them within one Ministry.
“The turnaround time in terms of response was more efficient but now that we are under a different ministry that means we might lose a lot of time and of course a lot of interest as the turnaround time will be prolonged by the fact that these departments are now housed differently. So, it’s a give and take,” he said.
Mr Nhau said they will soon meet with the Minister and other stakeholders to prepare a work plan for the sector.
“Our new minister apart from just sending our congratulatory message we have not fully interacted with her bearing in mind we are in the tourism month and there are a lot of activities locally and internationally.
“Very soon we will be meeting so that we have a brainstorming session we welcome the new minister but she is not new to the Ministry as she was our deputy so in terms of what we need as an industry she has a clear idea of what is expected of her in as far her mandate is concerned,” he said.
Tourism executive Mrs Barbara Murasiranwa-Hughes from Wild Horizons said the split of the Ministry will reduce bureaucracy.
“She is not new to the industry. She has already been deputy minister to our outgoing Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu and I think he has done very well to work with her and she is ready to go. I will not call it a split but I will call it a multiplication of the two ministries.
“It’s going to help in expediting processes like we know our previous Minister was overwhelmed with so many things and sometimes we needed speedy resolution of issues and it was not coming because he was also busy with other things. So we hope this multiplication is going to help take away the bureaucratic issues that would delay results coming back and we got a person who is qualified to do that because she has been mentored by the best,” she said.