Travel and leisure players review National Tourism Policy
Michael Magoronga,[email protected]
STAKEHOLDERS in the tourism industry met in Harare last week to deliberate on how best Zimbabwe can transform the sector to anchor the socio-economic development of the country.
The validation exercise is a culmination of a consultative process in all the 10 provinces aimed at ensuring full participation and inclusive contribution to the development of the updated tourism blue-print.
The National Tourism Policy that is being reviewed was crafted in 2014 and has outlived its lifespan of five years. The review is being done in line with the Second Republic’s thrust of leaving no one and no place behind and seeks to align the development of the sector with the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics on tourism, regional tourism protocols, and the emerging issues from the changing environment.
This takes into consideration global pandemics and climate change resilience and adaptation as well as mainstreaming gender and youth participation in tourism-related activities.
Speaking during the workshop, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality, Ambassador Raphael Faranisi, said the review seeks to build on achievements realised over the past decade, embrace new aspirations for the sector, putting particular emphasis on resilience, recovery and growth of the tourism industry.
“It’s my view that regular policy review and updates are an important part of policy formulation and implementation mechanisms in Government, hence the process of giving feedback on what you contributed during the consultative engagements and this remains critical,” he said.
“Old policies may fail to comply with new laws and regulations and may not address changing trends, which can result in inconsistent practices and mal-alignment of programmes and activities in different Sectors.”
Ambassador Faranisi said the National Tourism Policy should also seek to be all-inclusive in terms of tourism development and equitable distribution of tourism resources and revenues.
He said figures show that tourism is among the sectors that have great economic growth potential and has contributed immensely towards the Gross Domestic Product of Zimbabwe.
“The performance of the travel and tourism sector globally has improved significantly during the period 2022 to 2023 due to the resumption of travel and tourism following the subsidence of the effects of Covid-19 pandemic,” said Amb Faranisi.
“Notably, during the first half of 2023, the country registered an increase of 62 percent international tourist arrivals from 366 062 in 2022 to 591 524 in 2023.”
He said a marked increase in tourism receipts was also realized, registering a 16 percent rise from US$343.1 million in 2022 to US$397.7 million in 2023 over the same period. The total amount of investments in 2023 rose by 24 percent, recording a total of US$120.1 million up from US$96.5 million in 2022.
The tourism sector continues to play a crucial economic development role as it provides a substantial amount of foreign exchange earnings, generates employment and stimulates other economic sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and transport, thereby contributing to the national economic growth.