Bad road networks have heavily impacted on tourism growth in the Eastern Highlands, Manicaland province, after it emerged that the financilally hamstrung Transport ministry is prioritising major roads.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
This came out at a national tourism strategic consultative meeting held in Mutare last week.
Transport ministry Manicaland provincial road engineer Arnold Mutungwazi told stakeholders at the meeting that they were prioritising major roads.
“On the issue of prioritisation, we are prioritising major roads or highways because chances of accidents are very high. We look at roads such as the Tanganda-Ngundu Road, there have been accidents,” he said.
“Yes, we also look at roads that lead to tourism attraction centres, but we have only put temporary measures. We would like to help, but funding is our major challenge, we need money to rehabilitate our roads leading to tourism attraction centres.”
Stakeholders who attended the meeting had cried foul over the poor roads, saying that tourists were shunning some destinations because of poor roads.
However, at the same meeting the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said the tourism sector still had a long way to convince the government on the importance of tourism to the country’s economy.
“We still have a long way to convince the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development on the importance of tourism in the country and what tourism can do to our economy, how tourism can be the biggest contributor of our economy,” he said.
“Who said that tourism cannot surpass agriculture in the highest contributor of our economy? We don’t want to play second fiddle to agriculture. The government is not giving money to the sector the way it should be. Look at the type of jobs that can be provided in agriculture and tourism,” he said.
Kaseke also said that they had engaged the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) to rehabilitate roads leading to tourist attraction areas around the country.
He said some roads were in deplorable states as people were only focusing on politics and not on our the economy.
“Our roads are in a bad state. The infrastructure has gone bad. There is no need to research about that, people were only attending to politics and not to the economy. But we are talking to Zinara and something is coming up, just wait,” he said.