Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Barbara Rwodzi, has said the recent toll fee hike harms domestic tourism.
This comes after the Government early this month increased toll fees by up to 100% on some roads.
Rwodzi told journalists on Friday last week that her Ministry engaged the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development on the possibility of lowering the toll fees as they make travelling by roads expensive. She said (via NewsDay):
We think toll fees will affect domestic tourism, we were not in support of the move. However, we negotiated for the fees to be reduced.
When people are travelling they should not have headaches. For example, there might be five to six tollgates for someone driving from Harare to Victoria Falls and that is a substantial amount put aside by a motorist.
Rwodzi said the rehabilitation of the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway, which is in poor condition, should be prioritised. She said:
As the tourism ministry, we want to ensure that these roads get fixed and accessed and we are very hopeful that the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway will be fixed and we will be making a lot of noise about it because upgrading our roads will make accessibility better.
The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA), which collects the toll fees, defended the hike. It said:
The new fees have been carefully considered to balance the need for accelerated road infrastructure rehabilitation funding, which has over the past three years been funded largely through Treasury.
These revised fees are part of a broader strategy to enhance capacity for ongoing road rehabilitation and routine maintenance.
Toll fees on the Harare-Beitbridge and Plumtree-Mutare highways were increased to US$4 for light motor vehicles up from US$2.
Minibuses pay US$6 from US$3, buses US$8 from US$4, heavy vehicles US$10 from US$5, and haulage trucks US$20 from US$10.
On other roads, toll fees were increased by 50%.
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