ZIMBABWE is set to earn a whopping $5 billion annually when work to revamp its tourism infrastructure is completed, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Walter Mzembi has said.
He told potential investors in Johannesburg, South Africa at a recent Trade and Investment Forum that Zimbabwe had identified tourism infrastructure development as key to plans to revitalise an economy that has been on a lull for almost two decades.
He said among other infrastructural development projects the government has embarked on to revive the sector include the ongoing upgrade to the country’s major roads.
The highways that are undergoing a major revamp include the main border networks of Beitbridge border post between the country and South Africa and the Chirundu border post between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The Beitbridge–Chirundu highway connects Zimbabwe and South Africa to countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and Malawi, making it the busiest inland border post on the African continent.
Minister Mzembi said Zimbabwe was repositioning itself for tourism investment boom through a number of initiatives.
“We’re re-positioning a country, which is about to rise and shine. There’s no medical science in tourism. It’s about openness,” added the minister.
Minister Mzembi, who is also the African President for the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), stressed the need to have an open policy in terms of the country’s skies and borders so as to attract more tourists into Zimbabwe.
“This is part of the concept! We’re dreaming of a future in Zimbabwe through the 2015-2020 vision. This is a $5 billion tourism economy,” said Minister Mzembi.
Through the vision, the country aims to attract at least five million arrivals per year and growing the sector to contribute 15 percent gross domestic product.
Minister Mzembi said Zimbabwe was receiving two million visitors generating annual revenue of $1 billion while contributing 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
The minister, citing Biblical verses during his presentation, spoke strongly about the country’s need to adopt an “open door policy” especially the opening of borders and skies in order to increase tourism arrivals in the country.
“Day and night your gates will be open, so that the kings of the nations may bring you wealth,” he said, quoting from the book of prophet Isaiah.
“So, going forward, if you want to invest in tourism sector, you’ve to watch whether we’re opening our borders sufficiently enough, and our skies sufficiently enough,” said Minister Mzembi.
The expansion of the Victoria Falls International Airport is also envisaged to significantly improve the port’s aircraft handling capacity. It includes the expansion of the existing runway, construction of a new runway, construction of a new terminal building as well as a car park and road network.
Source: Zim to earn $5bn from tourism: Mzembi (8/7/15)