TOURISM receipts rose by nearly 18% to US$724 million in the nine months ended September 30, 2023, owing to increased travel despite investments declining by more than half, NewsDay Business can report.
The increase in total tourism receipts was from a 2022 comparative of US$615 million.
Speaking at the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) annual congress last week in Nyanga, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Barbara Rwodzi said the tourism sector was still experiencing a post-COVID-19 rebound.
She said the sector’s efforts, coupled with government support, had seen a “rebound in the performance of the tourism sector in the post-COVID-19 pandemic period”.
“Tourism receipts increased by (17,72%), from US$615 million in 2022 to US$724 million. However, tourism investments registered a 55% decline from US$306,7 million in 2022 to US$139,3 million in 2023 during the same period. My ministry is working on a robust strategy that will lead to a stronger rebound in the tourism and hospitality sector,” Rwodzi said.
She said the tourism and hospitality value chain had been traditionally captured as the “Tripod of 3As”, which are access, accommodation and activities.
While the sector saw an increase in activity during the period under review, the declining investment threatens to either reduce or subdue the growth of the sector.
“Investment in these 3As creates a must visit destination. These investments will contribute immensely towards our target of a US$5 billion tourism economy by year 2025 and hence contributing towards achievement of NDS 1 [National Development Strategy 1] targets towards the national Vision 2030,” Rwodzi said.
“The thrust should be that every dollar spent in developing the tourism and hospitality sector must yield an excellent return on investment while contributing to growth of the industry. However, to get to this high level of performance more rooms are required in Zimbabwe across the geographical spread.”
She said it was critical that the sector increased the occupancy rate and the length of stay of visitors which would help to grow the sector.
According to the government, the tourism and hospitality industry contributes 4,25% to the national gross domestic product and 2% to national employment.
The performance of the sector has led the Tourism and Hospitality Industry ministry to develop the “Doctrine for Tourism Promotion and Development” to increase the contribution of the tourism and hospitality sector to the gross domestic product.
“We are currently in the process of developing a focused strategy leveraging on our heritage. This calls for absolute clarity in understanding the mandate of the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry. The mandate of the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry is derived from the Tourism Act [Cap 14:20], which enjoins the ministry to promote and develop the tourism and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe,” Rwodzi said.
“Promotion of tourism is implemented through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, while the development of the tourism industry is implemented and facilitated through the Zimbabwe Tourism Fund. In accordance with the Tourism Act [Cap 14:20], tourism promotion and development shall target domestic, regional and international markets.”
She said the vision of the ministry was to make Zimbabwe a prime tourist destination, adding that this would be based on the pursuance of international best practice.
“To achieve this goal absolute and perfect alignment with national goals and aspirations is critical. The pillars of our strategy as a ministry are policy and administration; tourism development; and tourism promotion,” Rwodzi said.
“In pursuance of our goal as a Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, a Doctrine for Tourism Promotion and Development will be developed in order to guide and elevate the contribution of the tourism and hospitality industry to the GDP of Zimbabwe.”
Part of the strategy includes transforming the existing tourism categories into “clusters”.
These clusters shall include the rural tourism cluster, sports tourism cluster, religion cluster, business cluster, culture and customs cluster, wildlife cluster and holidaying cluster.