The $15 million Tourism Revival Fund facility availed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to prop up the collapsing industry has been lying idle with the industry’s players unaware of its existence, an executive with the bank has said.
BY NUNURAI JENA
Last month, RBZ launched the facility to help the tourism sector renew its product and entice new players.
RBZ deputy director for financial markets William Manimanzi told participants at the National Tourism Sector Strategic Consultative workshop held at Chinhoyi University of Technology yesterday that there were no takers for the facility.
“The RBZ availed a loan facility of $15 million for players in the tourism sector that was meant to be disbursed through commercial banks. Unfortunately there were no takers. May be this was due to lack of publicity by associations in the tourism sector,” Manimanzi said to the surprise of the stakeholders present.
The loan facility, which is demand-driven, attracts an interest rate of 7,5%, repayable within 12 months with a capital expenditure of 36 months.
“We have joined Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and hotel and leisure industry players to publicise and market this facility. Additional funding will be availed once this facility is exhausted,” Manimanzi added.
The workshop, held under the theme, Unlocking the Development Potential of the Tourism Economy, was meant to come out with a strategic plan for the recovery of the tourism sector and usher tourism as an economic driver.
The workshop was officially opened on behalf of Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Priscah Mupfumira by Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Webster Shamu.
The sector in Zimbabwe is expected to grow by more than 20% in 2018, thereby surpassing the annual global tourism growth and regional growth forecast of 4–5% and 5,5% respectively.
Tourism experts said the envisaged positive performance of the tourism industry in Zimbabwe is expected to hinge on factors such as regional tourism growth trends, the new Victoria Falls Airport, improved destination image, new airlines, continued marketing efforts and destination awareness and improvement in the service delivery.