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Mzembi slams roadblocks


Zimbabwe’s global ranking in terms of the attitude of local population towards visitors continues to be poorly ranked at nine out of 12 countries regionally, a recent survey has shown.

The bad score has been attributed to continued mistreatment of tourists at the country’s points of entry.

Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi told journalists in Harare yesterday the poor ranking was also due to the multiple police roadblocks along major highways.

“We are not a police State, we should therefore encourage minimum force,” Mzembi said.
“Tourism strives on key enablers, which are stability and peace.”

He said the collapse of Air Zimbabwe continues to discredit the country as an attractive tourism destination.

“The dysfunctionality of Air Zimbabwe means as a country we cannot distribute tourism regionally, which is cause for concern,” Mzembi said.

The minister said Zimbabwe and other countries should integrate into a single tourism destination as part of strategies to ensure the sector survives and grows.

Mzembi said his ministry, despite being second after mining in terms of contribution to economic growth, continued to be sidelined by Treasury as it was getting limited support.

He said this would hamper efforts to attain the projected 15% contribution to gross domestic product by 2015. He said the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general Taleb Rifai is expected to visit Zimbabwe and Zambia at the end of May.

Rifai would be joined by President Robert Mugabe and President Michael Sata of Zambia at the border between the two countries for the signing of a tripartite agreement on the hosting of the 2013 UNWTO general assembly.

Mzembi said Zimbabwe was also likely to be affected by the move by European countries to discourage their nationals from travelling to Africa.

“In the past few months, we have noticed a disconcerting trend whereby our traditional markets in Europe have introduced measures that will dissuade their nationals from travelling to Africa and other developing destinations,” he said.

“Following its own economic meltdown, the European Union (EU) has urged its member countries to introduce various airport departure taxes, which make it more attractive for Europeans to visit within their own countries and the EU rather than venture outside”

He said all measures should be taken to ensure peace prevailed in the country and the region to protect tourism.

“We are all aware of what happens when a tourism destination is plagued with violence and insecurity,” Mzembi said.

“Indeed, very attractive destinations in North Africa are losing their tourist numbers to Southern Africa, which is rapidly becoming a haven of peace.”

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