from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls
VICTORIA FALLS – ZIMBABWE is confident a relatively successful coronavirus vaccination programme could turn the fortunes of the tourism sector around as the year draws to an end.
The government is looking to make the most of September as the local Tourism Month, which has been launched ahead of World Tourism Day, marked on the 27th of the same month.
Nqobizitha Ndlovu, the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, said the administration would leverage on the confidence gained from a positive vaccination campaign to attract tourists.
“We look forward to a change in fortunes in the third quarter of this year and beyond based on the strides made in the global vaccination campaign and our own efforts to make Zimbabwe a safe travel destination,” Ndlovu said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has acquired in excess of 12 million vaccines against a target of 20 million as it seeks to vaccinate 10 million citizens to achieve herd immunity.
This year’s Tourism Month theme is, “Tourism for Inclusive Growth.”
The national event will be held in Bindura, Mashonaland Central.
“In view of the foregoing, I call upon the tourism industry in its entirety to use this year’s celebrations to showcase the various ways that their tourism businesses can and have promoted inclusive growth and changed livelihoods,” Ndlovu said.
Tourism is a key economic pillar for the revival and growth of the Zimbabwean economy as underscored in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) government blueprint.
“Inclusive growth is central to the target set out in NDS1 hence this year’s celebrations present us with an opportunity to reaffirm the need to grow our tourism inclusively without leaving anyone behind,” Ndlovu added.
As part of the month long festivities, there will be a tourism symposium and other innovation expos as well as mobilization ahead of the Dubai 2020.
It was originally scheduled for October 2020 – April 2021.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Arab Emirates, the new dates are October 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022.
At its peak, Zimbabwe received more than 2,5 million tourists annually.
Arrivals fell by 11 percent to 2,294 million in 2019 due to negative destination image.
Figures further fell by 74 percent last year and a further 72 percent in the first half of 2021 as a result of COVID-19.
– CAJ News