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Tourism misses targets as stakeholders review policy

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Tourism misses targets as stakeholders review policy


Ellen Mlambo/ Ndhliyase Mlambo


MASVINGO –The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry is working on a new national tourism policy as the country missed its targets set through the 2014 policy document.

More than 100 stakeholders gathered at the Flamboyant Hotel in Masvingo on Friday for a consultative review of the national tourism policy set during the time of former Minister, Walter Mzembi which is now outdated.

The tourism policy as enunciated in the 2014 document had various aims including to extend tourism to emerging international markets such as economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).

The policy launched by the late former President Robert Mugabe also sought to make tourism a major engine of economic growth, provide a guiding framework to develop tourism by making sound policy pronouncements and to fortify Zimbabwean tourism’s international competitiveness. Also emphasised in the policy which was supposed to run until 2018 was to tap into regional and domestic markets and make those some of the mainstay of the industry.

The specific policy targets which were also not met were to increase tourists arrival from 2, 5 million to 3,2 million by 2015, to increase tourism receipts from $749 million to $1,8 billion by 2015, to increase tourism’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 10 percent to 15 percent by 2015 and to enhance the sector’s contribution to employment from the current 300 000 direct and indirect employees to 400 000 by 2015.

The workshop held in Masvingo is a continuation of a series of consultation workshops on policy review process which started in Gweru on February 13, 2023 and launched by the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Nqobizitha Mangaliso.

The policy review process which is sponsored by the World Bank will see at least one workshop held in each of the country’s 10 provinces.

In Masvingo, the workshop was facilitated by the acting Deputy Director (Tourism Development and Facilitation) in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mary Chivaura and the one-day workshop was officially opened by the Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Jephta Sakupwanya who was represented by Clever Chingwara.

Key stakeholders who attended the workshop included Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) regional manager for Masvingo Daniel Mumpande, National Archives, Regency Hotels and Leisure Group Operations Manager Maria Makwara and General Manager Pious Tshuma, Masvingo Great Zimbabwe Publicity Association chairman Dr Phanos Matura, managers from various hotels and tourism entities in the region.

The Mirror has learnt that one of the reasons why the policy in question is under review is that the responsible ministry had failed to meet targets outlined in the document.

The workshop heard that one of the reasons for the delay in holding the review process was the COVID-19 pandemic which put on halt many projects and programmes.

When the consultations are complete, the views will be consolidated and a national validation workshop held to ensure that all stakeholders views are captured. Thereafter a memorandum will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval and the final stage will be the printing and launch of the policy.

A consultant at the workshop, Dr Shepherd  Nyaruwata from the International Finance Corporation ( IFC) said the objective of the workshop was to interrogate and update the national tourism policy.

He noted some gaps in the current policy including that the document mixed up the vision and mission statement. He emphasised the failure to meet targets as one critical reason why the review process was important

“Within the period 2014- 2018, there was an inability to meet the targets that were set in that document and there were a range of reasons why the country was not able to meet those targets and that is again why it became critical for the ministry to review and update the policy so that it could set new targets which are inline with the current environment,” said Dr Nyaruwata.

Dr Matura expressed satisfaction at the review process adding that it was long overdue.

“Masvingo is one of the key tourism regions in Zimbabwe and as the local publicity association we are therefore excited with this review process; it was long overdue. We want the updated policy to emphasise domestic tourism as international tourism is unpredictable,” said Dr Matura.

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