Tourism operators push for reduction in fees

TOURISM players have appealed for a reduction of fees for accommodation and adventure activities licences in the resort town in order to promote domestic tourism.

BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

The call was made on Thursday at a consultative National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) workshop to map out an inclusive strategic plan to address gaps existing in the tourism sector, as part of the ministry’s 100-day work programme

Shearwater sales and marketing manager, Trish Mambinge, said this after it was revealed that less than 20% of locals countrywide have visited tourism destinations due to the high prices.

“Our destinations should be affordable. We must put a two pricing system, where locals are pegged differently from international and regional tourists.
At the moment, everything is expensive from food to accommodation and that has killed our domestic tourism,” she said.

“The high pricing is contributed to by exorbitant licence fees from the government and other authorities and at the end of the day, the clients are the ones that suffer more, we, therefore, appeal to the ministry to look into that.”

Another operator said Victoria Falls residents needed to be occasionally given free entry to the rain forest as, some could not afford to pay $7 per head.

Tourism and Hospitality minister Prisca Mupfumira said the government was mulling the adoption of a Victoria Falls tourism special economic zone to ensure that tourism development spreads to the entire Matabeleland North province.

“This initiative will address the imbalance in product profiling within the province by mainstreaming areas such as Binga, Hwange and their environs into the product portfolio. This will make sure that tourism development does not only concentrate on Victoria Falls but spreads to the province as a whole,” she said.

Mupfumira emphasised the need to put in place measures that support small tourism operators to invest into the special economic zones.

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