HARARE – Zimbabweans shun visiting local resorts and hotels, leaving them exclusively to foreigners, Tourism deputy minister Anastacia Ndlovu has said
She told the Senate on Thursday that Zimbabweans needed to take the lead in visiting the country’s tourist destinations.
This came after Zanu PF Manicaland Senator Monica Mutsvangwa had enquired government policy on domestic policy.
“ . . . over and above that, . . . it’s very sad our people do not have a holiday culture.
“They probably think that a tourist has to come from outside the country . . . so all the efforts that we are doing are to ensure and instil a holiday culture in our people,” Ndlovu said.
“I am therefore urging them to visit the tourist attractions which are closer to them because every district has something to offer. Unless we do it ourselves, the tourists from outside cannot continue to grow the economy for us.”
Many Zimbabweans say they are unable to visit resorts or stay at hotels because they cannot afford the steep hard currency prices.
But Ndlovu said efforts by the hospitality industry to boost domestic tourism have seen hotels coming up with holiday packages meant to augment government’s attempts at promote the Know Your Zimbabwe Campaign.
This comes as tourists have also added their voice to growing concerns over the heavy presence of Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) details on the country’s roads, with over half of respondents in a Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (Zimstat) survey saying they felt harassed.
Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is a major source of foreign exchange, with the number of visitors marginally increasing in recent years. Government hopes if locals visit resorts and stay at tourist hotels, it will help raise occupancy.
The tourism ministry had an ambitious target of receiving five million tourists that it hopes can raise $5 billion annually by 2020.
“Our ministry has come up with a tourism master plan, it is the nucleus around which our tourism policy will be implemented.
“We have designated the country into 11 tourism development zones.
“You will be aware every part of our country, every district and province has its own unique features. It means we have managed to achieve product development, diversification,” Ndlovu said.
Apart from the Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya or “Smoke That Thunders”, Zimbabwe can offer safari hunting, some of Africa’s largest game reserves, scenic resorts and the ancient Great Zimbabwe ruins, one of the most important archeological sites on the continent.