Government plans to expand Zimbabwe’s tourist attractions into new areas such as Tugwi-Mukosi, Binga, Kanyemba, Osborne Dam and Kariba.
The plan, which is part of the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy (NTRGS) that was launched by President Mnangagwa on August 5, is expected to unlock at least US$2,7 billion by 2025.
Kariba and Binga are popular tourist destinations, and new infrastructure in these areas is expected to boost arrivals.
“With the advent of Covid-19, international tourist arrivals into the country are likely to fall by up to 60 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 and, thus, may see tourist arrivals drop to a mere 920 000 by the end of 2020.
“Informed by this reality, it, therefore, became increasingly important to develop a strategy that addresses this downturn and apply a new perspective to recover the sector by the end of the planning period in 2025,” said Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu.
According to Zimbabwe’s recently launched NTRGS (2020-2025), Tugwi-Mukosi — the country’s largest inland dam with a capacity of 1,8 billion cubic meters — will be designated as an Integrated Tourism Park.
“Government will expedite tourism development in new areas such as Tugwi-Mukosi to grow the tourism sector. To this end, the gazetting of Tugwi-Mukosi as an Integrated Tourism Park will be expedited,” reads the new tourism policy.
“This will immediately unlock massive potential for investments in fisheries and fish camp resort. Investments into Tugwi-Mukosi Integrated National Park area are estimated to reach US$1,5 billion by 2025, through investments in hotels, boat cruises, exclusive conference facilities and lodges.
“Preliminary assessments show potential of at least 16 sites with massive potential for tourism-related infrastructure, estimated at over US$500 million.
The authorities have intimated plans to gazette Osborne Dam as a recreational park given its “massive potential for fisheries and tourism-related development”.
The development of infrastructure in Binga will include an airstrip, beach resort and boutique hotel.
“Government will endeavour to attract new investments in Binga and build on existing facilities and improved accessibility made possible by the opening of a new border post with Zambia.
“To unlock more potential for drive-through tourists into Binga, the Government will expedite the speedy implementation of the Binga-Karoi Road.
“Air access will be improved through rehabilitation of the Binga Airstrip.
“Government will work on the restoration of Karava and Sijarira forests to help promote green spaces in the future tourism product of Binga.
“The proposed Beach Resort and a boutique hotel in Binga will be developed to unlock an estimated US$200 million in investments.”
In Mashonaland Central, the remote border town of Kanyemba has in recent years been attracting private tourism investors.
Government is stepping up to boost activity by coming up with a conceptual plan of a heritage tourism destination.
“Kanyemba forms a boundary corner with Zambia and Mozambique along the Zambezi River, and is a focal point for fishing and hunting activities in the nearby Dande Safari Area.
“It provides the end-point for long-haul canoe safaris along the Zambezi River starting from Chirundu or Mana Pools,” said Government.
“Government will expedite the completion of conceptual planning in Kanyemba to help create a new tourism growth frontier based on heritage, waterfront investments in hotels, lodges, fish camps and fisheries. This border growth nod has the potential of unlocking a potential investment above US$500 million.”
For popular tourist destination Kariba, there are plans to extend the scope of the waterfront to accommodate new tourism infrastructure.
“Government will work closely with the Kariba Local Authority and ZimParks to unlock more land for development in a sustainable manner.
“This will help unlock new waterfront-based investments and diversified products to attract new clientele into Kariba.
“At its peak in 1999, Kariba attracted over 200 000 tourists per annum, and to revive this destination, scheduled flights will be re-introduced and the quality of road access will be enhanced. In this context, private airline operators are expected to play a prominent role.”
The new tourism policy is set to revive the fortunes of the sector, which had begun to decline.
Official statistics show that tourist arrivals into Zimbabwe increased from 1,7 million in 2012 to 2,6 million in 2018, with an average growth rate of 6 percent per annum over the period.
Over the same period, tourism receipts grew from US$749 million to US$1,4 billion.
In 2019 tourist arrivals into Zimbabwe registered an 11 percent decline from 2,6 million to 2,3 million, while tourism receipts also declined from US$1,4 billion to US$1,2 billion over the same period. — Business Weekly.