By Anyway Yotamu in Victoria Falls
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday launched the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy and reopened the Victoria Falls rainforest after 109 days of closure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking in Victoria Falls yesterday President Mnangagwa said, “The tourism growth strategy is anchored on vision 2030 and tourism sector has an important role to play alongside mining, agriculture, and manufacturing”.
The President first visited the falls in 1955. The country draws water for electricity from the Zambezi. He said the 109-day lockdown of the falls was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
The tourism sector is expected to grow to about US$5 billion industry by 2025. This requires investments in accommodation and infrastructure while at the same time creating much needed jobs.
He also added that his government has created tourism opportunities that will be soon gazetted in Kanyemba Mashonaland Central and Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo.
️The much-awaited launch of the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange will also benefit the Victoria Falls town and the country at large.
The tourism sector is offered a ZW$500 million bailout as part of efforts to cushion the sector from COVID-19. The government recently exempted the sector from value added tax (VAT) in respect of local tourists.
“Government will continue to fund efforts to reconnect with local, regional and global markets. The agricultural sector must also play a role in the recovery of tourism through the provision of fresh produce to tourist outlets. Let us always aim to deliver excellent services that we clamour for,” said President Mnangagwa.
The national tourism recovery and growth strategy came up through inclusive consultations with the players in the sector across the country.
President Mnangagwa is on a two-day visit in the Matebeleland region. He is also expected to commission the Bubi Beitbridge Masvingo highway project today.