Source: Immigration clears 11,2 million travellers | The Herald January 19, 2019
Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
The number of travellers, including tourists that were cleared at all the country’s ports of entry and exit last year increased by nearly 5 percent to 11,2 million compared to 10,7 million in 2017, the Department of Immigration has said.
The department’s public relations officer Principal Immigration Officer Mrs Canisia Magaya said in a statement the increase was an indication of their efforts to facilitate the ease of movement in and out of the country.
“Zimbabwe noted an increase in the number of travellers cleared around the country’s ports of entry and exit. In 2017, 10 655 625 travellers were cleared around the country’s ports compared to 11 172 231 in 2018, marking a percent increase.
“5 686 452 visitors were cleared into the country. Beitbridge alone recorded 2 745 036 travellers coming into the country while Victoria Falls cleared 146 249 entries against 124 518 in 2017 representing a growth of 17,5 percent,” she said.
She said Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport recorded 398 861 entries against 337 671 in 2017, representing an 18,12 percent increase.
“The growth in the average figures are an indication of the efforts by the Immigration Department in facilitating ease of movement into the country and that indeed Zimbabwe is open for business.
“It also reflects the positive results emanating from the ease of doing business mantra adopted by Government in line with His Excellency, the President’s pronouncement that Zimbabwe is open for business,” Mrs Magaya said.
She said under the banner, the department revised the visa regime in February last year, upgrading 28 countries from Category C (nationals who are required to obtain their visa before travelling to Zimbabwe) to Category B (nationals who acquire their visas at the port of entry).
She said this move was done to bring greater convenience to travellers, tourists and potential investors. Mrs Magaya said during the first cycle of the 2018 Rapid Results Initiative (100 days programme) which ran from January 1 to April 10, 2018, the department implemented the online visa payment system to leverage on the advantages of using technology that had become a global trend.
“There was an upgrade to the online visa application platform thus, further automating the visa application system making it quicker and more efficient.
“The digitalisation strategy also saw further upgrades of the system with the introduction of the Machine Generated Visa that was initiated and implemented during the second cycle of the Rapid Results Initiative which ran from April 11 to July 19, 2018,” she said.
She said the visa was a further demonstration of the department to continuously automate its processes in line with international trends with the objective of creating a paperless based system.