The Government has launched the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy meant to strengthen the capacity of the sector to emerge stronger after being crippled by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Announcing the resumption of tourism today, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Mangaliso Ndlovu said the whole world is trying to crawl back to life from the negative impacts of the pandemic.
The Covid-19-induced economic shut down and subsequent travel restrictions have disrupted travel global chains.
“As you will all know, the impact of the pandemic on the Tourism Sector has been severe in our country, with many tourism companies on the brink of collapse,” said Minister Ndlovu.
The Minister said the resilience of the sector had been tested to the limit over the last six months and the resumption therefore comes as a very welcome decision that Cabinet has allowed all Tourism Activities that had remained shut down as part of the measures to contain the Coronavirus Pandemic to now resume full operations.
“My Ministry together with all stakeholders collaborated to develop Health and Safety Guidelines, which were approved by Cabinet, detailing protocols which need to be followed to allow the whole sector to re-open safely. This was in keeping with the overall global policy thrust to strengthen the capacity of the sector to emerge stronger to operate under the new normal,” he added.
The Ministry led widespread consultations under strict social distancing conditions, which led to the development of the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy.
Cabinet recently approved all Tourism activities to resume operations. These include but are not limited to: game drives, bungee jumping, zip liners, helicopter rides, lion walks, elephant rides and all registered tourism activities.the government also approved the opening of airports allowing domestic travel for the meantime.
“This decision by Cabinet is indeed welcome as it comes at a time when massive retrenchments were looming in the sector and such layoffs would have threatened the many lives that are dependent on tourism for survival.
Most employees were on half salaries, and in the worst case scenarios, on unpaid leave.
The negative impact of the Coronavirus induced shutdown was felt across the whole tourism sector and its value chains. However, the impact was more severe in towns such as Kariba and Victoria Falls, which are predominantly tourism reliant cities.
Government is intensifying compliance checks together with the relevant arms to ensure players are fully compliant.