THE Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) has urged government to, among other things, revisit visa regime issues and relax some of the requirements in a bid to open gates for potential visitors into the country.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Zimbabwe uses a migration management system with a three tier visa model classified into categories A, B and C. Category A refers to countries whose nationals are exempt from visa requirements, while those in category B obtain visas at the port of entry on arrival.
Category C nationals are required to apply for visas before travelling.
According to the Department of Immigration, under category A, there are 46 countries while under category B and C there are 117 and 57 countries, respectively.
HAZ president Innocent Manyera told NewsDay that government needed to revisit visa regime to improve travel facilitation and unlock the potential of the tourism industry.
“We are positive that the environment will be positive. The open for business and ease of doing business mode should continue being a reality. We remain positive that the incoming government makes business environment enabling for operators and the consumers of hospitality services, be it local or international,” he said.
“Visa regime issues need to be revisited to open gates for potential visitors. Issues to do with three-tier or more pricing currently prevailing — US, bond, swipe, transfer and so on (needed to be addressed).”
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Manyera said government should capacitate local industry so that provisions would be sourced locally.
“As we resuscitate local industry, let’s look into duty exemptions of products not currently found local,” he said, adding government should make sure that all operators were registered and licenced as currently, the industry was flooded with illegal operators.
“Roads and airports need rehabilitation to enable domestic travel. We need to have strong domestic air connection,” Manyera said.
He said there was also need for standardisation or synchronisation of hospitality training to regain lost skills.
Government should also help ease access to capital, especially on loan costs and application procedures.
Manyera said a lot of activity in the first half of the year had been driven by the “Zimbabwe is open for business” campaign as well as election related activity.
These two were major drivers of business as compared to same period last year, he said.