International travellers and buyers coming to Zimbabwe for the 12th edition of the country’s premier travel expo, the Sanganai/Hlanganani Travel Expo have been assured of enough supply of fuel and cash.
During yesterday’s press briefing ahead of the expo scheduled for Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Acting Chief Executive Givemore Chidzidzi said modalities are currently being worked on to ensure that there are no cash and fuel challenges for the event which bursts to life next week.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing an acute shortage of fuel whose supplies, however, seem to be improving albeit its unaffordability as motorists now commute after fuel regulating authority has hiked prices more than six times since June.
Cash supplies have also been a big challenge since time immemorial as bank queues continue to be the order of the day across towns and cities in the country.
However, Chidzidzi assured that travellers need not to worry as they are engaging relevant authorities for enough supplies during the event.
“We are very conscious to those challenges and we also want to mention that we are very happy that the fuel situation seems to be improving…at least fuel is available that it was a few weeks back.
“What we have also done is to engage the fuel industry, we have been talking to some of the major players in that industry to make sure that there is fuel available for Sanganai for its success, for the mobility of our buyers , all the vehicles to be used to all their destinations, we have made prior arrangements,” Chidzidzi said.
On the cash situation, the interim tourism boss was bullish that the current crisis will not have an effect on the expo.
Zimbabwe earlier this year banned the multi-currency system which had a basket of currencies including the US Dollar and the South African Rand and opted for a return to the much loathed Zimbabwean dollar.
The move further worsened the accessibility of the few bond notes as most of them are in the hands of cash barons who are trading the notes in the black market in exchange of the banned greenback
“The issue is being handled through our bankers to make sure that those visitors that might need access to cash will get it easy,” he noted.
Chidzidzi further stated that travellers will also be able to make use of online transactions using “plastic money” to ease their woes.
He however, said they were aware of the prevalence of the acceptance of “plastic money” hence further discussions are underway with financial institutions.
“We are saying to banks; let’s make it more prevalent because when tourists are travelling, they all carry cash. Now it’s a matter of where these cards being accepted and how are they being accepted,” he noted.
The headache, Chidzidzi added, is the informal sector which does not accept the use of plastic money who normally accept cash only.
“All we need to do, which is the reason why we are appealing to the monitory authorities is for them to enable the platforms for the retailer and everyone who is selling anything to accept foreign credit cards,” he said.
He was also sure that the expo will not see a lot of cash exchanging hands hence the availability of liquid cash is a bonus for the smooth flow of the event.