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Tourism Business Council Concerned About Calls For A National Lockdown

The Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe has expressed deep concern over the reported call by the Confederation of Zimbabwean Retailers for a national lockdown.

The president of the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe, Wengayi Nhau, said today (Friday June 25):

‘The travel and tourism sector has been in the forefront of efforts to support the national drive to eliminate Covid, and continues to support this effort wholeheartedly.

‘But it must be clearly understood that a national lockdown has consequences that are massively destructive, as can be seen by the unprecedented decimation of livelihoods and incomes for families and communities experienced in the wake of full lockdown measures, irrespective of the intent of that lockdown.

‘The travel and tourism sector is starting to recover from the effects of this and it is hoped to regain a momentum to rebuild the sector, most especially to re-employ the thousands of people who have lost jobs and bring a measure of relief to the tens of thousands of people in families and communities affected by these job losses and business closures.

‘At present there are still businesses in our sector that are closed, such as restaurants, while others are not able to perform the task that has kept them operational in the past year and a half, that is the hosting of conferences by hotels.

‘ Without in any way discounting the horror of Covid, there are ways forward that do not destroy lives through economic ruin and it is these ways that must be identified and implemented.

‘ TBCZ does not support a national lockdown and urges caution in the methods used, so that gains made in saving lives are not countered by immeasurable economic ruin.

‘The travel and tourism sector has achieved high levels of vaccination, estimated at between 75 and 80 percent in Victoria Falls, for example, and we encourage this in other business sectors.

‘In this regard we find it irresponsible to for CZR to make this call and we remind that association that its members who are supermarkets were among the very few operations allowed to operate in a national lockdown and are therefore not qualified to make calls that are prejudicial to other legitimate operations.

‘We urge a balanced programme of action by the authorities and avoidance of knee-jerk reactions that are desperately harmful in other ways.’

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