ZIMBABWE’S bid to achieve 5 million tourist arrivals by 2020 could remain pie in the sky due to the government’s failure to support tourism promotion, an executive has said.
Source: ‘5 million tourist arrivals by 2020, pie in the sky’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 25, 2016
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is in charge of tourism promotion but remains underfunded.
The country targets to record $5 billion in export revenue by 2020.
The industry also wants to increase tourism receipts from $827 million to more than $3 billion, as well as increase tourism contribution to GDP from 11% in 2014 to 15% by 2020
But ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said the ambitious targets would not be met as Zimbabwe was not doing what it was supposed to do to achieve its set goals.
“We don’t seem to be doing the things that will give us such tourists by 2020. Right now we are at 2 million,” Kaseke said at a media briefing in Bulawayo on Friday.
He said the fact that there were still more police roadblocks in the country’s highways meant Zimbabwe should forget about achieving its targets.
Kaseke said ZTA was underfunded which constrained its operations.
“ZTA which is supposed to do the marketing is not funded. For example, the Sanganai/Hlanganani was not well-funded. We were only given half the money we required and as for now we haven’t been given the other half,” he said.
Kaseke said some regional countries such as South Africa, Namibia and Zambia were well-funded by their governments.
For instance, in 2014 South Africa tourism body received $130 million from the government while Zambia received $33 million.
He said in South Africa, each provincial tourism body was given $10 million.
“However, in Zimbabwe we are only given $470 000. How can you market a country with this kind of money? It’s like being given a car without a steering wheel,” Kaseke said.
He said due to this, the tourism industry was performing badly as evidenced by 52% (aggregate) hotel occupancy achieved last year.
Kaseke said pockets of protests and stay-aways experienced recently in the country were not good for tourism sector.
He also noted that the economic cost of sanctions and negative perceptions of Zimbabwe were significant on the tourism sector.
United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) tourism vision 2020 projects the industry to grow at an average annual rate of 3,8% by 2020. It forecasts international tourist arrivals worldwide to reach nearly 1,4 billion by the same year, 2,5 times the arrivals recorded in the 1990s.
Of this global total, ZTA revealed that 1,2 billion would be intraregional and 378 million would be long-haul travel.