ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke has blasted government for not adequately funding the tourism industry claiming the authority was failing to attend world functions that presented marketing opportunities for the country.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
He made the remarks at a two-day workshop that ended at Forestry Hills Resort in Vumba on Thursday where stakeholders in the industry had gathered to review the Tourism Act that is set to be aligned with the new Constitution.
Kaseke said the authority was failing to market the country because of lack of funding.
“We are not getting enough funding to market the country, our Tourism Act is good, but we will fail to implement it because of the lack of funding. We have been failing to attend various tourism showcases to market our country,’’ Kaseke said.
“We have never got the money we ask for in time from the government. When they (government) give us the budget, they give us a little and in arrears, we failed to attend one of the leading International Trade Shows in Berlin this year because of funding. Just imagine our deadlines were extended three times but we failed to make it.’’
Zimbabwe in March failed to attend the International Trade Shows that was held in Berlin, Germany.
Kaseke added: “South Africa get their budget three months in advance, so that they can be left with a flexibility to plan and many other countries do the same. Singapore is given their budget for five years.’’
Stakeholders cried foul that there was too much competition between ZTA and the Tourism ministry as they were working at cross purposes.
Kaseke however applauded the Tourism ministry Secretary Florence Nhekairo, who stood in for Tourism deputy minister Anastancia Ndhlovu at the event, for the role she played to handle competition between ZTA and the ministry.
“There was lot of competition between ZTA and the parent Ministry, but with the coming in of the new permanent secretary (Nhekairo) it is now a thing of the past, I think she has worked tirelessly, we are working together, it’s now part of history, we have been talking to people on their roles and I think everything is going on well,” Kaseke said.
Nhekairo said government was facing economic challenges, hence the reason why it was not remitting funds to ministries on time. She said all ministries and not only ZTA alone were affected.
“I think the issue of funding is not affecting only them (ZTA), l am aware that all ministries get their budget in arrears and very little,’’ she said
Nhekairo said her ministry encouraged people around the country to take domestic tourism seriously.
“As a ministry, we are encouraging domestic tourism. People should visit their areas, this is our country and we should feel free to visit our tourist attraction areas,” she added.
The Tourism ministry came up with a tourism policy last year that is set to improve the industry in the next few years.