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Tourism sector registers 12% growth


THE tourism sector has registered a 12% growth in bed occupancy levels at the major hotels, with most of the hotels in the prime destinations experiencing improved business, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.


In his 2014 Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review statement, Chinamasa said the recovery of tourism was restoring the role of the industry as one of the drivers of the economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation growth targets.

“Growth in the tourism sector is benefitting from the prevailing political stability in the country, investment in tourism facilities and infrastructure, revamping of domestic flights capacity, all complemented by investment in marketing campaigns.

“The increasing participation of locals is also serving to support the recovery of tourism performance.

Chinamasa said the tourism sector has also benefited from conference business during the first eight months of 2014, with the country successfully hosting a number of conferences including Routes Africa, the Sadc summit and growing number religious meetings.

He added that government interventions with regards to fiscal incentives have also under-pinned tourism investment refurbishment programmes and already, a number of capital intensive refurbishments have been completed at some hotels and facilities.

Operators can import capital goods duty free.
Chinamasa said resultantly, tourism contribution to gross domestic product should rise to 15%, from the current 10% and this would see generation of earnings rise from the current $749 million to over $1, 8 billion, as tourist arrivals increase from 2,5 million to 3,2 million by 2015.

He said subsequently, the sector should generate an additional 100 000 employment opportunities. Currently, both direct and indirect employment in the industry was around 300 000.

Last month, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Karikoga Kaseke urged government to construct and set up convention facilities in order for Zimbabwe’s economy to benefit from the potential inherent in the tourism sector.

“As long as we don’t have a single convention facility in this country, that [lack of convention infrastructure] will not position us in a manner that will give us an edge over other countries. Convention centres are normally put up by government or local authorities not private operators,” Kaseke said.

He said the ZTA had already submitted papers to Treasury highlighting the significance of constructing the proposed facilities.

He said Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions tourism rakes in three times more receipts than leisure tourism with knock on effects on local hotels in terms of revenue generation.

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