Tourism sector contribution now 4.5 percent of GDP
Harare (New Ziana) – The tourism sector is currently contributing US$1.9 billion to Zimbabwe’s GDP, as such more work needs to be done in order to triple revenue so that it reaches the government target of US$5 billion by 2025.
Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere told a post Cabinet media briefing that the information was contained in a report on the Tourism Satellite Account findings which were presented to
Cabinet by acting Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Kirsty Coventry.
He said the TSA was developed in line with the National Development Strategy 1 in order to improve the accounting of the performance of the Tourism Sector.
“The nation is informed that the major findings of TSA are as follows; that currently tourism is contributing US$ 1 964 592 880 (4.5 percent) to GDP. There is need to triple growth in the sector to reach the target of a US$5 billion tourism economy by 2025.
“(And) that domestic tourism contributed US$765 724 073 compared to US$1 198 868 807 inbound tourism expenditure and should be supported,” he said.
“Collaboration among government agencies involved in collection of tourism statistics will be strengthened by utilization of digital platforms and collaboration will be enhanced among the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, the Department of Immigration and other State actors.”
Muswere said a technical working group led by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) produced the TSA.
The local tourism sector, which was adversely affected by Covid-19 lockdowns, is on the recovery path on the back of government fiscal and policy support.
For example, on top of allowing tourism operators to retain 100 percent of their foreign earnings, the government has extended support under various facilities including a waiver of Value Added Tax on domestic tourism and duty exemption.
This support has helped improve access to tourism products and services by the domestic market through extended price reductions.
On the other hand, the renewed interest in destination Zimbabwe by foreign airlines has also helped boost the sector’s fortunes.
On their part, tourism players have splurged on new hotel, conference and dining facilities, an indication that despite serious operational challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic they were ready to contribute to the US$5 billion industry milestone.
Investments into the local tourism sector grew to US$142 million in 2021, up from US$86 million the previous year.
The tourism industry, which shed 9 000 jobs because of lockdowns, red listing and travel bans, was also being resuscitated through campaigns such as the ZimBho and the Visit Zimbabwe, while European based Zimbabwean footballers, such as Tino Kadewere and Marvellous Nakamba had been roped in as tourism ambassadors to market destination Zimbabwe.
For example, the ZimBho domestic tourism campaign launched in 2020 helped increase domestic entries into National Parks to 251 088 in 2021 compared to 173 714 in 2020.
To bolster the tourism recovery plan, Cabinet recently directed the expeditious gazetting of major water bodies including the Tugwi-Mukosi and Gwayi Shangani Dams as conservation and recreational parks to unlock investment potential.