COVID batters Tourism industry
By Ruvimbo Chatyoka
COVID- 19 has battered the global Tourism industry, with investment and job creation declining significantly, the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality, Nqobizita Ndhlovu has said.
While addressing delegates, who thronged the Great Zimbabwe University for the 2021 World Tourism Day Academic Symposium under the theme: “Tourism for inclusive Growth”, Minister Ndhlovu said, “A total of 639 356 tourist arrivals were registered in the country during the year 2020.
“This figure is nearly 1.7 million less than that of 2019 with 76% (486 489) of these arrivals having been recorded during the first quarter of the year. Looking at the 2020 tourist arrivals, the performance has gone back to that of the year 1991, thus taking the sector 30 years back,” he said
Minister Ndhlovu said this year’s theme, therefore, provides a unique occasion to amplify the conversation about the sector’s inclusiveness as the country pushes for recovery and growth.
In addition, Minister Ndhlovu noted that “In driving the recovery agenda, no one should be left behind including communities, minority groups, the youth, the women and the differently-abled and those who would otherwise be at risk of being left behind. We want everyone to be able to participate in the sector both as consumers and producers of the tourism products and in the value chain of tourism.”
Moreover, the Government is looking forward to good fortunes, through the tourism sector as Minister Ndhlovu asserted, “In terms of employment, we need to ensure equitable employment creation and creation of decent workspaces for our communities. We will, therefore, rely on the ability of tourism to generate employment, yield income from foreign visitors, to jointly increase revenue by levying taxes on consumption and channeling more of that revenue to communities.”
He further highlighted that the government is working towards improving the country’s economy by 2030: “Our thrust as government, in line with the need to achieve a middle-income economy by the year 2030, is to ensure we escalate the role of tourism in improving livelihoods of our people. Indeed, this augurs well with this year’s World Tourism Day theme: “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”, whose focus is to ensure tourism growth takes everyone on board.