Tourism players say the increase in police roadblocks on the country’s roads and highways was not conducive for the growth of the tourism sector.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
Speaking at the tourism stakeholder’s workshop in Harare yesterday, Africa Albida Tourism chief executive Ross Kennedy said the roadblocks were impacting negatively on growth of the tourism sector.
“Police roadblocks and behaviour is really a cause for concern. The roadblocks between here to Victoria Falls are many, between Victoria Falls and Kazungula, there are four roadblocks. But the question is why?” he queried.
“A friend of mine gave a terrible account on how they were treated here at the roadblocks and this shows that the issue of roadblocks is a genuine problem, which is impacting negatively on tourism.”
Last month, Leopard Rock Hotel said it would refund guests staying at the facility traffic fines they would have paid to police officers at roadblocks.
“Since we have been losing business because of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) stopping people and fining them arbitrarily on their way to Leopard Rock, we have a new idea. If you get a ticket on your way to Leopard Rock, give us your receipt and we will credit your stay,” Leopard Rock said.
ZRP assistant commissioner Sidney Thethe defended the proliferation of roadblocks, saying some of them were meant to assist other stakeholders in conducting their businesses such as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID).
“We should harmonise our operations. If ZBC want to mount a roadblock, it should be combined with the traffic roadblock. The reason why we have many roadblocks is because the other roadblocks are to assist stakeholders in their businesses,” she said.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke told the conference that the country’s destination image was currently very low, as Harare was ranked number three by United States news channel Cable News Network as the least livable cities — worse than the war zone countries.
He said tourism stakeholders should take advantage of the workshop to come up with resolutions which would be implemented by all responsible tourism stakeholders.
Speaking at the same event, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport chairperson Dexter Nduna said there was need to come up with solutions to computerise the ZRP to address roadblocks concerns.
“The way to go is to computerise the sector, but to computerise without the sector stakeholders speaking to each other won’t help. VID, the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration and the Home Affairs ministry, among other stakeholders, need to speak to each other so that these issues can be structured to make use of modern technologies,” he said.
Yesterday’s workshop was organised by the Office of the President and Cabinet, ZTA and the Tourism ministry.