Tourism, health sector synergy critical: Karombo

ONE of the country’s leading tour and safari firms, Mbira Tours and Safaris has come out in support of the National Tourism Recovery Growth Strategy, saying the industry has to create strong co-operation with the health delivery system ahead of the full re-opening of destinations.

President Mnangagwa recently availed the Government’s guideline to provide a revolving fund for tourism businesses as the country charts the way for the reopening of its destinations. Tourism is earmarked to be a US$5 billion economy by the year 2025, as stated in the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy.

Hygiene standards and consistent practice of safety precautions against the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic at hospitality establishments was emphasised by President Mnangagwa. Mbira Tours and Safaris director of operations Mr Engelbert Karombo said the company applauds the Government’s support to reopen business under a well guided structure but, they feel the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy must be underpinned by a strong health system. Mr Karombo said the industry will have to embrace that it will recover at a snail’s pace.

“Tourism is an international business which greatly responds to the international climates. Definitely the industry will pick up but slowly. We need to accept the slow pace that we will experience when international borders open one day. The industry will shrink as it has already done from the beginning of the year until now, but, however, by the time that we are going to accept and live within the boundaries of Covid-19 we can move forward. It is not going to be easy but we can make it.”

The strategy availed by the Government placed local tourists at the heart of efforts to revive the sector, of which Mr Karombo said they are fully prepared.

“We are more than ready to tap into the great opportunity offered by domestic tourism. For now, we can concentrate on domestic tourism. Let the players in the tourism sector encourage domestic tourism and from there we know where we need to upgrade in preparation of international travellers,” said Mr Karombo.

The Brand Zimbabwe campaign, spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and its regulatory arm the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), has to be sold to both the local and international tourist as a safe

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