Zimbabwe: “Vaccination is the key to reviving tourism”
The ongoing national Covid-19 vaccination program is expected to play a critical role in resuscitating the travel, tourism and hospitality industry and across value chains, a senior official said.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe finance conference organized by Financial Markets Indaba (IMF) in collaboration with Business Weekly, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the UK, retired Col. Christian Katsande, said the program of nationwide vaccination was a beacon of hope for the economy as activity increases and the resumption of the pandemic first detected in China in 2019.
“The national Covid-19 vaccination program offers hope for reviving the tourism and hospitality sector in the country and the economy as a whole,” he said.
The travel, tourism and hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit sectors across the world as economies have closed borders to limit the spread of the pandemic.
Domestic tourism has also been affected as intercity travel has also been restricted as the country implemented various lockdown stages as of March 30, 2020.
As a result, local hospitality service providers have closed some of their facilities due to moderate demand, for example, Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) has temporarily closed two hotels in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
Its occupancy rate for the year as of December 31, 2020 closed at 26% against 47% recorded the previous year due to the effects of Covid-19.
President Arthur Manase also said the group is now banking on the expected recovery of the travel and tourism sector across the globe, as the world embarks on vaccination as part of efforts to limit the spread and severity of the disease. the pandemic.
“The tourism industry has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. While the current situation is likely to persist until early 2021, we remain confident that the tourism industry will eventually rebound and put the hospitality industry on the path to recovery.
“A glimmer of hope has come from the vaccination efforts underway around the world and in Zimbabwe. This process should facilitate the rapid recovery of economies around the world as well as the gradual resumption of international travel,” he said in a press release accompanying the group. financials for the year.
As the immunization program intensifies, 452,191 had received their first dose and 107,586 had received their second dose by May 4.
Retired Colonel Katsande also underscored the government’s commitment to create an enabling environment that promotes investment in all sectors and ensures economic recovery. Already, the agricultural sector is expected to do well thanks to the expected bumper harvest this season, which is also expected to increase activity across all value chains.
“Agriculture will be the anchor of Zimbabwe’s economic growth. Maize, for example, we are forecasting 2.4 million tonnes against the national requirement of 1.4 million tonnes, leaving a surplus for exports, ”he said, adding that NDS1 further reveals the government commitment to achieve an upper middle income economy. by 2030.