Ultimatum for Unlicensed Tourism Operators
Unlicensed tourism operators have up to March 31 to have their papers in order or risk facing prosecution as government moves to restore sanity within the tourism industry, a cabinet minister has said.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Prisca Mupfumira told delegates who attended the handover of Tourism Support Facility in Harare that unlicensed players were creating unfair competition to genuine operators while defrauding government of revenue.
“It is disheartening to note that there are a number of operators who are illegally operating and offering tourism services in contravention of the Tourism Act Chapter 14:20 of 1996.
“Such players are offering unfair competitions to genuine tourism operators and are defrauding government of revenue.
“I therefore wish to encourage and persuade all such unregistered operators to ensure they register their tourism businesses between now and the end of March 2018,” said Mupfumira
She added that under the Destination Management Program, one of the five projects earmarked for the 100 Day Target Performance Program, she is targeting a restoration of the image of brand Zimbabwe as a leading tourism player internationally.
Mupfumira directed the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and other relevant arms of the law to undertake a blitz on all unregistered operators.
“We need to restore order and sanity in the Tourism sector and I urge concerned parties to take heed of this moratorium that I have issued,” added Mupfumira.
To create a fair and better tourism environment for visitors, government is making great efforts to improve its tourism facilities and quality of services.
Mupfumira expressed worry about the proliferation of sub-standard facilities and said the ZTA had stepped up efforts to deal with the situation.
“Chief among the challenges affecting tourism growth are limited international air access, inadequate internal airline connectivity, poor state of roads in tourism resorts and a non-competitive tourism product that is not only overpriced but old and tired,” she noted.
She further expressed concern over the high prices of hotels saying they do not tally with the services provided.
Zimbabwe Council for Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Paul Matamisa chipped in and said Zimbabwe needs to move away from marketing Vic Falls alone, but a holistic approach was needed to market all the country’s top tourist destinations .
“We need to expand our marketing of the brand Zimbabwe, we should not confine ourselves to just the Victoria Falls but we should tap into other destinations so as to give potential tourists a wide range of destinations to choose from,” he said.
ZTA Chief Executive, Karikoga Kaseke pledged to work with the ZCT and the Ministry in promoting brand Zimbabwe.
Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr John Mangudya said tourism contributed 11% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and 6% of exports receipts in 2016.
Meanwhile, the RBZ has handed over a $15 million Tourism Support Scheme meant to complement Government’s Policy to offer Duty Exemption Rebates to importers of Safari Vehicles and Capital goods for use in the Tourism Sector announced by Government through Treasury in the National Budget.