The Office of the President and Cabinet, in conjunction with the ministries of Home Affairs and Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Industry, will today convene the inaugural tourism, security and enablers’ conference aimed at accelerating the implementation of ease of doing business reforms.
Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Industry permanent secretary Thokozile Chitepo said today’s conference is aimed at “creating dialogue among key stakeholders with a view of accelerating the implementation of ease of doing business reforms as well as proffering quality service delivery”.
Chitepo added that this was a “call for greater linkages, synergies and co-ordinated efforts in the execution of mandates by line ministries as the country moves to accelerate the implementation of Zim Asset.”
The conference comes at a time tourism players are complaining about the huge number of roadblocks on the country’s roads that are projecting Zimbabwe as an unsafe tourist destination.
According to the Visitor Exit Survey done last year, harassment by the police constituted the highest percentage of the reasons why tourists would not recommend the country to potential tourists, at 43,2%, followed by harassment by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officers at 14,7%.
The survey polled 38 680 foreign tourists over a 12-month period between 2015 and November 2016.
Zimbabwe Council for Tourism president Tichaona Hwingwiri told NewsDay yesterday that engagements over roadblocks thus far between the ministries and other stakeholders had already begun with favourable outcomes.
“I think all we are saying is that on the ground, engagements have been happening and continue to happen. We are satisfied with the outcomes that have been happening out of those engagements that have been done, so this is just a continuation of the same, but I think for now, let us leave it like that and let us see the outcomes of our discussions I think after our meeting [conference],” he said.
The conference comes as previous discussions between the ministries had not reduced the number of roadblocks.
This triggered debate on whether roadblocks were truly for security purposes or a deterrent to tourists visiting the country.
In June, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered the then Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo and former Tourism minister Walter Mzembi to meet urgently over the roadblocks.
Tourism is one of the country’s largest foreign currency earners generating $890 million in 2016.–newsday