MUTARE — Government plans to grow the tourism contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to 15% by 2015, a senior government official said last week.
BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
Addressing staff from his ministry recently during a familiarisation tour, Tourism and Hospitality minister, Walter Mzembi said tourism contributed 10% to the GDP on the basis of 2,5 million arrivals and close to US$1 billion in tourism receipts.
“It is our target to grow this contribution of GDP to 15% by 2015, on the basis of 3,2 million arrivals and US$5 billion in tourism receipts,” said Mzembi.
He reiterated government’s commitment to developing tourism in the country by introducing a cocktail of measures, such as promoting domestic tourism packages for low income earners so that they can have an opportunity to visit some tourist attraction areas with their families.
“We want even the low income earners to go for holiday by designing packages which are suitable for them. In a way, we are promoting domestic tourism,” said Mzembi.
Mzembi said this amplifies the economic importance of tourism as an economic pillar.
“All previous economic blueprints have captured tourism as an economic pillar, and our performance as a sector should continue to demonstrate our revenue earning capacity alongside the battery of incentives we require to deliver,” he said.
Mzembi added that his ministry in the next five years will institute legislative reforms in order to align existing legislation to the new national tourism policy.
“There is need to consolidate the gains of the successful co-hosting of the Unwto [United Nation World Tourism Organisation] general assembly as a global endorsement and continued leveraging of Brand Zimbabwe in the regional and global market,” he said.
The Unwto meeting, which was co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia, was held in August this year.
Mzembi underscored the need to initiate considered bilateral and multi-lateral co-operation with a view to mainstream benefits for the tourism sector in a win-win situation.
“Bilateral Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] should be designed to ensure we can associate with benefits of entering into such agreements in a more meaningful way,” said Mzembi.