A standalone Zimbabwe Tourism Fund among strategies to develop the sector: Minister Rwodzi


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The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Hon Barbra Rwodzi has said the Zimbabwe Tourism Fund should be a standalone entity to ensure a transparent management of revenue to develop the tourism sector.

She made the remarks at the interactive media workshop between the tourism sector players and journalists held at the Monomotapa Hotel in Harare.

“The Zimbabwe Tourism Fund should be separated from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA). According to the Tourism Act, 2% of earnings from tourists should be directed to the fund. The revenue comes from such entities as the food outlets and even from venues where artistes will be performing. Other tourism operators were arguing that they couldn’t be forced to remit that money to the ZTA but rather do so to an independent Zimbabwe Tourism Fund.

“If that entity is standalone, it becomes easy for the ministry to account for the revenue earned. This is the money that should be used for tourism promotion and development. We should be able to put up posters directing tourists to lodges or safaris along major highways like the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road, for example. The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair wants to expand and with the Tourism Fund, we can propose to build halls. The infrastructure like the roads should also be improved from that fund,” Minister Rwodzi said.

She said the Ministry of the Tourism and Hospitality industry recognizes the critical role that media plays in shaping perceptions, disseminating information, driving positive change, and highlighting Zimbabwe’s natural wonders, cultural heritage, as this is instrumental in attracting visitors and investors alike.

“Your role extends beyond reporting; it is about shaping narratives, influencing perceptions, and inspiring confidence in Zimbabwe as a safe, welcoming, and vibrant destination. As a Ministry, we are grateful to each member of the media for your tireless efforts in showcasing Zimbabwe’s diverse tourism offerings to the world. Your presence here underscores the importance of our dialogue in fostering understanding, transparency, and collaboration,” she said.

Today, Zimbabwe stands at a critical juncture where its tourism is experiencing a growth trajectory through various initiatives that the Ministry is implementing. These include the UN Tourism Gastronomy, the Tourism Round Table Forum, and the recently finished Tourism Bill consultations.

On 31st October 2023, the Ministry apprised Cabinet of the news that the United Nations Tourism (UN Tourism) Forum selected Zimbabwe to host the inaugural Africa Regional Tourism Gastronomy Forum from 26th to 28th July 2024, in Victoria Falls City.

Cabinet also noted that the selection of Zimbabwe came in the wake of Zimbabwe’s exceptional exhibition at the historic 8th Edition of the UNWTO Forum on Gastronomy Tourism held from 5 to 7 October 2023 in Donostia, San Sebastian, Spain. This was led by Her Excellency the First Lady, Amai Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa. The selection of Zimbabwe to host the Gastronomy Forum was a direct result of this exceptional work.

Again, through the First Lady’s exceptional work, UNTourism is assisting Zimbabwe in building an African tourism gastronomy and culinary centre in Victoria Falls. A Memorandum to this effect is going to be signed during the Gastronomy Forum in Victoria Falls

As a build-up to the First Africa Gastronomy Forum, national Cookout competitions have been completed in collaboration with sister Ministries of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development and Women Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development.

The UN Tourism Secretary General, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, will be the most senior United Nations official attending the inaugural Africa Gastronomy Tourism Forum.

For the Tourism and Wildlife Forum, the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry through its agency Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and its agencies will convene a landmark Tourism and Conservation Round Table on 11 July 2024 at Cresta Hotel in Msasa. ZTA has partnered with Wild Africa on this initiative.

This roundtable is bringing together a multidisciplinary team of experts to dissect the challenges facing the Zimbabwe tourism sector, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate our successes. The goal is to foster a sustainable and resilient tourism industry that benefits both the economy and our environment.

In his closing remarks, Hon Tongai Mnangagwa, the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry said the active engagement with the media has been instrumental in fostering meaningful dialogue and spotlighting the importance of tourism in Zimbabwe.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to all of you who have generously shared your expertise and perspectives on various facets of our tourism sector. Your presence and active engagement have been instrumental in fostering meaningful dialogue and spotlighting the importance of tourism in Zimbabwe.

“Your valuable insights have enriched our discussions and provided clarity on the challenges and opportunities ahead. Today, we have discussed the current landscape of Zimbabwean tourism and our government’s steadfast commitment to revitalizing this vital sector. We have highlighted the strategic initiatives, including infrastructure development, sustainable tourism practices, and collaborative partnerships, aimed at ensuring Zimbabwe remains a top-tier destination on the global tourism map,” Hon Mnangagwa said.

He reiterated the resilience and dedication of the tourism stakeholders, including hospitality businesses, community organizations, and tourism operators, who continue to play a pivotal role in promoting Zimbabwe’s diverse cultural heritage and natural wonders.