Category: News

Major road rehabilitation work in progress around Hwange National Park

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The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) and wildlife conservation organisations have committed to intensify the ongoing rehabilitation of the road network around the country’s largest game reserve, Hwange National Park.
The country’s wildlife authority, Zimparks and the global non-profit organisation International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) who last year sealed a major partnership agreement on wildlife conservation in key protected areas, have made substantial progress in upgrading the road network around Hwange National Park.
Work on the project which is also funded by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) includes the resurfacing and widening of the road from Manga 3 Airstrip to Makona Camp. A private player has also assisted in the revamping of the Manga 3 Airstrip.Zimparks Public Relations Manager Mr Tinashe Farawo said the authority is pursuing Public-Private Partnerships in conservation initiatives.
“We have grateful to most of the wildlife conservation partners whom we are working within particular IFAW and WWF. They are not only providing foods rations to the rangers but also upgrading our road network,” said Tinashe Farawo – Zimparks Public Relations Manager.
The upgrading of the airstrip and the ongoing road rehabilitation work is also part of efforts to ensure the country’s tourism products are in good shape ahead of the resumption of operations after the lockdown.
Wildlife conservation programmes have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more countries in Southern Africa compelled to channel limited resources towards saving citizens’ lives first. Under the current situation, wildlife conservation has in most cases been sidelined.

Zimbabwe’s tourist destinations post covid-19

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With Zimbabwe and other countries taking steps to gradually reopen their economies, officials say aggressive digital marketing on the international forum and promotion of domestic tourism will be crucial in rebuilding the local tourism sector.
Speaking to ZBC News the Permanent Secretary in the of Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Munesushe Munodawafa said the Tourism Sector was already on its knees operating at 5 % before the country went on lockdown.
“ The tourism sector was hit by this pandemic even before all the other sectors felt it. About two months prior to the lockdown, already our hotels were operating at 5 % or less, but the question is, is there life after this given the travel restrictions in place around the world, it could take a while before international tourists start trickling back in”, said Munodawafa.
While pointing out the need to promote domestic tourism, Munodawafa also highlighted the need for aggressive digital marketing to ensure that once the planes take to the skies again, Zimbabwe will be a destination of choice.“ We need to put a lot of emphasis initially on domestic tourism because we expect that international travel will be somewhat inhibited in the first 12 or even 24 months. The next focus is reaching out to the world. We have upped our game in digital marketing and we encourage even private players to do the same as we are doing as a ministry,” he added.

TALKING NOTES FOR THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY, ON THE OCCASION OF THE MEETING WITH INDUSTRY ON THE TOURISM STIMULUS PACKAGE, 07 MAY 2020

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We meet at a very defining moment for our industry, which has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid 19 Pandemic. Sadly, the Pandemic hit us at a time when we were already experiencing a dip in tourism arrivals. The year 2019 had seen us experiencing a 11% decline in tourist arrivals from 2,579,974 received in 2018 to 2,294,259 largely due to destination image issues driven in part by a concerted deliberate negative messaging about our country and our key destinations.

Whilst for Zimbabwe an upturn in arrivals was expected in 2020, anchored on aggressive destination image promotion and marketing, the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak which started in November 2019 is expected to further dampen travel and tourism in Zimbabwe and indeed globally.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 is projected to be a very difficult year for the tourism business as countries including Zimbabwe have gone into lockdown, whilst numerous business events have either been cancelled or postponed and flights have been suspended for a lengthy period of time.

With this in mind we have projected a three point scenario for tourists arrivals. The first is the best Case (optimistic) Scenario which assumes a 30% decline in arrivals and is based on the assumption that the outbreak will be contained by the second half of the year. This may see usregistering 1.6 million arrivals by year end.The Middle of the Road Scenario assumes a 60% decline in arrivals resulting from COVID-19 and this may see us registering approximately 920 000 tourist arrivals by year end.The last is obviously the Worst-Case Scenario which assumes an 85% decline in arrivals to close the year at 350 000 tourist arrivals. This is predicated on the assumption that the current status of restrictions on International travel persists until year end especially in our major source markets of Europe and the US.

Overally, we also anticipate a consequent fall in tourism business, with the country set to lose between US$500 million – US$1.1 billion in potential tourism revenue in 2020 from the projected revenue of US$1.4 billion.

As you are all aware Government has gone into overdrive to try and contain this pandemic and I am most grateful for the critical role that the sector has shown in supporting Government efforts throughout the country.The fight against this virus will surely be won and I look for to a stronger, more resilient and growing tourism sector that will be a key pillar in driving our economic recovery and growth.

This meeting to update the sector on a raft of stimulus measures from the government to the tourism sector is a culmination of the various consultations we have held with the industry. This includes the meeting we had at Cresta Oasis at the end of March where you presented in detail your requests for Government support to kick start the industry.

Obviously, what we have today may not be the full menu that you ordered, but it clearly underlines Government’s commitment to ensure the success of the Tourism sector, which is one of the key pillars of the economy.

I am pleased to advise the tourism sector stakeholders that following their detailed submissions to Government, the President and Cabinet have approved the Tourism Sector Support Scheme and the key aspects of which are as follows:-

  1. Government Guarantee Facility of ZWL500 000 000.00
    Government will provide Bank Guarantee Facility worth ZWL500 000 000.00 to assist the Tourism Sector to access working Capital Loans from Banks. In coming up with this decision Government is cognizant of the fact that the tourism sector has lost substantial business through cancellations and postponement of travel since January 2020 to date. We are also aware that that access to lines of credit are often hampered by lack of collateral or often stringent lending conditions by the financial institutions. We believe the Bank Guarantee Facility will go a long way in helping Tourism Industry to kick-start operations. Operational details of the Facility will be finalized by Treasury and will be announced within the next few days.
  2. Tourism Revolving Fund
    The Government is keen to see increased investment in tourism facilities as we are fully conscious of the impending capacity constraints in the sector by way of rooms shortage, conference facilities limitations and related infrastructure. In view of the foregoing, the Government has approved the establishment of a Tourism Revolving Fund for the Sector and has injected seed capital of ZWL20 000 000.00 into this Fund. While Government has injected the local currency to kick the Revolving Fund, we will continue to work with local and international partners to attract more capital into this fund. Operational details of this Fund will be announced in due course.
  3. Waiver of Value Added Tax on Domestic Tourism
    One of the key lessons clearly coming out of the events unfolding around the effects of the COVID – 19 pandemic is the need to develop domestic tourism. In this respect, it is envisaged that due to the current measures that restrict travel aimed at containing the COVID 19 pandemic, international tourism will be slow to recover, hence the need to provide incentives to stimulate domestic tourism. Government has therefore approved a waiver of Value Added Tax payable by domestic tourist for accommodation and services. This is envisaged to significantly lower the cost accessing tourism facilities by locals and I want to challenge you all in the sector to meet government half way by thoroughly interrogating our cost structures so that our people can experience their beautiful country and your pristine facilities at affordable rates.
    It is my view that our revival will be anchored on domestic tourism and focus has to be on driving demand for our facilities. Operational details of this waiver will be announced in due course.
  4. Deferment of Liquidation of Foreign Currency paid by International Clients
    Government is aware that a number of international clients had made advance payments for their travel into Zimbabwe which were however interrupted by the COVID – 19 Pandemic. We appeal for such potential visitors to postpone their visits and come when the scourge is over. In this regard, Government has approved the deferment of the liquidation of foreign currency paid by international clients who could not travel due to the pandemic.
  5. Support For Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
    Further, Government is cognizant of the integral role played by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) in driving the National Tourism Recovery and Growth. Currently the ZTA is funded largely from the 2% Levy charged on tourists travelling into the country. Given the current downturn in tourist arrivals, revenue streams for ZTA have declined substantially. ZTA will be afforded substantial support to ensure that the organization is capacitated to fully discharge its mandate.
  6. Payment of Money owed to Tourism Operators by Various Government Institutions
    In addition, Government has also undertaken to settle all long overdue bills with the Tourism Sector players for services already rendered. This move is expected to unlock working resources for the Sector.

I wish to commend Tourism players for their unwavering commitment and efforts to ensure the speedy recovery of the tourism sector. On its part Government wishes to restate the recognition of tourism as a key pillar of the economy and will continue to work with all stakeholders to improve the well-being of the Sector.

Let me thank the players in the diverse tourism industry from hotel owners to lodges to safari operators, tour operators, aviation industry among many players for their cooperation and support as we prepare to take off again.

I also want to extend my gratitude to ZimParks, the Ministry and ZTA for generating content that constantly remind us how beautiful our country with its bio diversity is, while emphasising the need to concentrate on the fight at hand so we are able to travel tomorrow.

We are working to conclude our tourism recovery and growth strategy and we have no doubt that our renewed focus on domestic tourism driven by improved domestic connectivity (road, rail and air) and enhanced competitiveness;international arrivals driven by robust destination marketing and promotions; and massive tourism infrastructure development driven by domestic and international investment to plug the infrastructure gap in the sector. More opportunities evidently abundant in the sector have to be unlocked by our innovative and enterprising youths to create the competitive edge we all desire.

I have no doubt that working together better days for the sector lie ahead.

I THANK YOU
NGIYABONGA
NDINOTENDA


Project Launch of Collaborative Research in Agriculture Planning, Ecosystem Security and Wildlife Conservation

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The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry together with ZimParks launched a
project on Collaborative Research in Agriculture Planning, Eco-system Security and Wildlife Conservation in Zimbabwe at Meikles Hotel in Harare.

A landmark event which witnessed the tripartite occurrence of rare and elevating activities in the form of:

1) donation of anti-poaching and research drones,laptop and projector,

2)the signing of the Memorandum Agreement (MOA) and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which is an absolute conservative bound marriage among the three entities (Sino-Africa Joint Research Center,Chinese Academy of Sciences and ZimParks and

3)enlightening academic research presentations.The presentations, as we have heard included highlights and nuggets of the forthcoming research and expected output of the collaborative thematic areas in Agriculture planning,ecosystem security and wildlife conservation.

The first two based entities share a common thrust in their visions with ZimParks which is mandated,by the Zimbabwean Government to conserve all wildlife within and outside the Parks Estates.To achieve its mandate ZimParks harnesses scientific research to inform all its activities and 5 year strategic plan (2019-2023) objectives such as conservation of biodiversity,protection of wildlife resources, tourism and marketing among others.One of the missing links in this process has been the need to embrace technology,such as the use of drones,to enhance effectiveness in bringing deliverables on the conservation spectrum.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry during the project launching ceremony,the Permanent Secretary of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Mr Munesushe Munodawafa said that the existence of these Memorandum of Understanding will reinforce and cement not only relations between and among the 3 organisations, concerned communities, but also all the conservation partners absent and here present in China and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s 40th Independence Anniversary

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As part of efforts to promote Tourism, the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry together with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority met ZTOURZ to map out a strategy to promote the movement of Zimbabweans in the United States of America to come home and celebrate Zimbabwe’s 40th Independence Anniversary next year.

ZTOURZ was accompanied by the December 12th Movement led by its Chairperson Ms Viola Plummer.

ZTOURZ will organise trips from the United States of America to Zimbabwe in April 2020 to highlight the beauty of the country and its cultural heritage.

ZTOURZ will also facilitate event planning and logistical support services for Zimbabwean businesses planning events in New York by identifying and securing locations for the events, sourcing local suppliers and providing on-site coordination.

Similar 40th Independence Anniversary homecoming initiatives are being pursued in other countries like South Africa and the United Kingdom where ZimThrive is spearheading the initiatives.

AFRICA YOUTH IN TOURISM CONFERENCE 2019

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The Ministry of Environment,Tourism and Hospitality Industry hosted the Third Edition of Africa Youth in Tourism Conference from 10 -12 October 2019 at ZITF grounds in Bulawayo.

The Conference was running under the theme ‘Changing Africa’s Future by accelerating Investment Capacity in Youth for Sustainable Tourism Development. ‘

Zimbabwe Youth in Tourism patron,Her Excellency The First Lady Amai A Mnangagwa,has called on African countries to synchronise their tourism,trade and investment policy frameworks to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The First Lady said that financial institutions should mentor the youths until they are able to manage their ventures.

“May we all start supporting these young children in order for them to achieve their full potential. May I,in this regard ,take this opportunity to appeal to banks and corporates to heed the Government’s call to support the youths within the sector, “she said.Most financial institutions require collateral,which most of these youths do not have.I therefore appeal to you to look into their ideas and move with them until they can stand on their own.”

Tourism is seen as Zimbabwe’s low hanging fruit with potential to contribute significantly towards economic turn around.

In this regard, the First Lady said it was important to spearhead the empowerment of African youths for them to fully participate in growing their countries’ economies and the continent at large,through tourism.

“The promotion of the participation of youths is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).It is also in sync with the policies enunciated by the Government of Zimbabwe as well as the programme on the promotion and participation of women and youth in the tourism sector promulgated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, “she said.

The First Lady,who is passionate about women and youths’ empowerment, recently provided skills and training to several young girls in the tourism sector in partnership with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and National Parks.

She said hosting of the Tourism Conference in Zimbabwe was testimony to Government’s commitment to support youths.Amai Mnangagwa urged youths to work hard and take advantage of opportunities available on the continent.She added that the youths from other African countries who attended the Conference should be Zimbabwe’s brand ambassadors by helping to tell the country’s story.

The youths held competitions on debate and public speaking focusing on tourism, culture and economy.

Kwekwe Polytechnic participants won the competitions and received a trophy and other prizes which were handed over by the First Lady.

Acting Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Hon NM Ndhlovu also emphasised the need to empower youths as they were an active economic pillar.

“Tourism is one of the key pillars of Zimbabwe’s Transitional Stabilisation Programme. It has relatively low entry barriers and good returns can be attained in a reasonably short space of time and yet the potential largely remains untapped,” he said.

Director of Africa Youth in Tourism Zimbabwe Chapter Mr Stewart Mutizwa said young people continued to face structural challenges embedded in the gap between policy promises and implementation.

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Hon J Ncube,Permanent Secretary of Environment,Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mr M Munodawafa and other Senior Government officials attended the Conference.

OFFICIAL HANDOVER OF EQUIPMENT TO ALLIED TIMBERS.

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On October 9, 2019 the State-owned timber processing firm ,Allied Timbers,has acquired $550 000 worth of machinery at Erin Forest in Nyanga.

The machinery, which includes five 20 tonne haulage trucks,four tractors and compressor,was officially handed over to the company units by the Acting Minister of Environment,Tourism and Hospitality Industry Hon NM Ndhlovu.

Three of the trucks are meant for Erin Forest Plantation in Nyanga and two for Gwindingwe Plantation in Chimanimani.

Speaking at the occasion,Hon Ndhlovu said the acquisition of the new equipment is a step towards meeting current and future timber demands of the nation and beyond.

“It is encouraging to see such investments being made to improve the operations of the company,.It is my hope that the fortunes of Allied Timbers continue to improve and it operates at optimum capacity and that the company will post a dividend to government in the near future. Increasing the productivity capacity of Allied Timbers should be matched with corresponding capacity of sustainably manage the biological resources. The current afforestation rate is not enough to bridge the predicted timber deficit in the future.It is therefore critical for the company to increase its a forest rate and increase efforts towards minimising losses to fire,pests and diseases,”he said.

Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs,Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba emphasised the need to protect the timber industry through planting more trees.

“We need to green Manicaland. We must adopt a deliberate policy to ensure that 10 trees are planted in place of each cut.I will personally supervise and make sure that the forestry sector performs well.Tree planting must be the password for tree felling. So no planting no log on,”said Dr Gwaradzimba.

Allied Timbers Board Chair, Mr Itai Ndudzo said their organisation remains committed to recapitalising production of timber in the country.

“We are implementing the procurement of a state of the art central forest whose construction should be complete before end of the year.The forest nursery will reduce the overall cost of raising seedlings as well as improve control on the quality of seedling that we require for re-greening,” said Mr Ndudzo.

The event was attended by the Permanent Secretary of Environment ,Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mr M Munodawafa,Acting Chief Executive Officer Allied Timbers Mr R Nenzou and other senior government officials.

FIRST LADY LEADS THE OCTOBER CLEAN-UP EXERCISE IN LUPANE.

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Lupane was one of the 10th National Clean-up anniversary highlights as the Provincial capital and the link town to the country’s major tourist destination of Victoria Falls.

On October 4, 2019 Her Excellency The First Lady
of the Republic of Zimbabwe Amai A Mnangagwa who is also the Patron of Environment officiated the clean up programme at St.Lukes Hospital in Lupane.

The First Lady has encouraged Zimbabweans to maintain a clean environment to prevent water-borne diseases during the coming rainy season.She said it was important for the country to restore sanity in urban and rural areas to prevent diseases.

“With the rainy season fast approaching, let us clear all waste dumps and storm drains to prevent clogging of drains,lest we promote breeding of vectors that causes diseases such as Cholera and Typhoid,”said the First Lady.

The Patron of Environment also urged the country to enhance the beauty of the environment by also ensuring that as people clean up their surrounding areas, also create green parks by planting trees,flowers,lawns at work places,residential areas and communities especially in those areas where waste dumps have been removed.To emphasize on this she planted an ornamental tree called the Casuanna Cunninghamian River Oak which is good for nitrogen fixing,soil stabilisation and land reclamation.

The First Lady also said that she was concerned about rampant littering along the highways.”It is worrisome that there is rampant littering on the highway from Bulawayo to Lupane.I am urging everyone to take it upon themselves to make sure that waste is disposed of properly. I want to urge the relevant Ministries and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to focus on the highways for the next clean-up exercise,” said the First Lady.

She urged local authorities to form synergies with churches, academic institutions and other organisations to ensure that waste management challenges are sustainably addressed.

The First Lady wound up the clean-up exercise by reminding people that littering and dumping are prosecutable offences. In this regard, she again appealed to Law enforcement agencies like Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and Zimbabwe Republic Police(ZRP) as well as Local Authorities to enforce their by-laws and ensure that litter bugs are prosecuted.

The clean-up campaign was also attended by Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister Hon Richard Moyo,Director of Environment and Natural Resources Mr Edward Samuriwo,Senior Government and Kusile Rural District Council officials and the Lupane Community.

Zimbabwe braces up for a National Clean -up Launch

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  The dictum- “Zimbabwe is open for business must be supported by a welcoming, clean, safe and healthy environment….” Around the world, waste generation rates are rising. In 2016 the world’s cities generated 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste, which amounted to a footprint of 0.74 kilograms per person per day. Solid waste management is one of the key environmental challenges that is confronting many developing countries including Zimbabwe. Approximately, 1.6,5 million of waste is generated annually in the country. With rapid population growth and urbanisation, annual waste generation is expected to increase by 70% from the 2016 levels. By 2050, it is expected to rise to 3.40 billion tonnes.

In Zimbabwe so far, the composition of the waste is 32% biodegradable, 25% paper, 18% plastic, 7% metal, 6% textile, 4% medical and 2% glass. Most of this waste ends up as litter in open illegal dumps and wetlands where it contaminates surface and ground water. Multiple problems caused by waste has greatly exposed the general public to disease outbreaks and epidemics such as cholera and typhoid. Furthermore, the country’s image has been negatively impacted with road servitudes, towns and cities becoming heavily littered. There is therefore need for a holistic and all- inclusive approach to address the waste management challenge that has bedeviled the country for more than a decade now. To this end different sector players have been engaged to initiate sustainable waste management practices within their areas of influence. There has been a positive response with churches, business community and Government departments among other players taking a lead in addressing the waste management challenge. This was achieved through undertaking massive clean-up campaigns, donation of bins and adoption of areas for sustained maintenance.

The zenith of this stakeholders’ response will be the National Clean -up launch, which the President of the second Republic of Zimbabwe HE E.D Mnangagwa will champion. This presidential clean- up launch being spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry will see various sector players making a pledge towards sustainable waste management practises before the President. Such a move will make a milestone contribution, in fulfilling constitutional provisions as espoused on Section 73(1) of the constitution for the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being. As a build up to this launch a series of clean-ups have been lined up across the country and all Zimbabweans are invited to actively participate.

WOMEN IN TOURISM ASSOCIATION SETTING OF PROVINCIAL STRUCTURES

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In appreciation of the constitutional pronouncement on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development established a National Women in Tourism Association, which was officially launched on the 24th of July 2018 at Harare International Conference Centre. An Interim committee was set up to serve as the executive Committee till September 2018.

From the 22nd -26th of October 2018 teams will be deployed to all the ten provinces of the country to set up Provincial Women in Tourism Associations that will feed into the National Women In Tourism Association Executive Committee.