Mukudzei Chingwere recently in Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls, a city built on tourism, is pinning its prospects of salvaging something from a Covid-19 affected year on the national vaccination programme allowing more and more people to visit the city in relative safety.
Those in the wildlife sector have turned to the Government and corporate world to support the sector in the face of both Covid-19 and climate change, while those involved in arts sector have resorted to selling wares online.
Tourism, an industry that largely relies on travel, has been hard hit by Covid-19 mitigatory measures which are anchored on avoiding crowds and banning unnecessary travelling, measures taken around the world. Government came in with some relief measures to help the sector remain afloat, which has averted collapse.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) vice president Mr Farai Chimba said the hospitality sector was anchored on travel and recovery would depend on successful vaccination programmes and the reduction of new Covid-19 infections.
It was critical to reach herd immunity by embracing vaccines to create a safer hospitality environment and reduction of new cases through adherence to protocols by all parties.
“We should continue to encourage domestic travel while creating visibility as a safe destination which has already received endorsement as one of the safest places to visit post Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mr Chimba.
Mr Terrence Musiyiwa, one of the founding directors of AVC Arts, said their products were now being sold online and they were urging people to buy original artwork from Zimbabwe.
“We now have over 500 paintings and sculptures for your consideration and at negotiable prices. We introduced this year, a “Suggest Your Price” function to our shop in a bid to promote art trade during this global pandemic.”
“We will not attribute this increase in products available online purely to our improved performance alone but we would also like to acknowledge the truth. The truth is business is bad in Zimbabwe for many local artists. Art is not selling as fast as it used to.”
Artists had been hit hard by the Covid-19 containment measures and were appealing to authorities for land where they could showcase their products.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said the authority had not spared by the negative effects of the pandemic and was now very short of money for its critical conservation work since tourism used to provide the bulk of the funds through fees and similar income.
“Wildlife management relies on tourism. Last year alone some of our budgets were cut by around 80 percent. So now it is the time we need support.
“The corporate world should consider supporting conservation especially in the wake of such pandemics and climate change,” said Mr Farawo.