ZANU PF legislator Christina Nyere (proportional representation) has called for the slashing of hotel rates and tourism fees for locals in order to promote domestic tourism and enable locals to enjoy the country’s tourism destinations.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
In her maiden speech last Thursday in the National Assembly, Nyere said hotel and tourism fees were very prohibitive, pushing away locals as the cost of accommodation, travel and meals at hotels were “exorbitant”.
Hotel bookings in the country cost between $80 and $150 per night, while activities like bungee jumping at resort areas such as Victoria Falls can cost $120 per jump, rafting $115, and a helicopter flight $150 for 12 minutes, which is beyond the reach of most locals who earn around $500 on average.
“Zimbabwe is a beautiful country and has a lot of resources and sites that attract tourists, but what stops locals from visiting them are the prohibitive fees charged at tourist areas,” Nyere said.
“Hotel rates should be different for tourists and Zimbabweans, so that it gives the people of Zimbabwe an opportunity to visit areas like Kariba, Binga and Bumi Hills.”
She said there was need to revamp infrastructure to ensure that people from different parts of the country could visit Kariba and the Bumi Hills.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in his speech during the official opening of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament, said the tourism sector was registering notable improvements.
He said there was need to improve tourism infrastructure, product range as well as quality and pricing of products to make them more competitive.
Mnangagwa encouraged cities like Bulawayo to consider marketing opportunities around event tourism and meetings, taking into account the presence of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair facilities.
In 2017, the government considered a plan for civil servants to get holidays as part of their conditions of service in a bid to boost domestic tourism.