The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has welcomed government’s decision to ease the national lockdown, describing it as a positive step toward a full reopening of Zimbabwe’s tourism sector.
Zimbabwe was under lockdown as part of measures to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown has negatively affected the tourism and hospitality sector as tourists have been forced to suspend travel.
Zimbabwe’s Cabinet announced that lockdown regulations for the tourism and hospitality industry had been partially relaxed allowing the sector to carefully and safely resume limited operations.
In a statement, ZTA acting chief executive officer Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said the sector has received with great excitement the news of further relaxation of the national lockdown.
“The tourism industry is extremely excited about the development, which is a great stride towards opening of the tourism sector.
“We acknowledge the efforts by the authorities and indeed the nation to keep the spread of Covid-19 under check and thank the Almighty for his watchful eye over our nation,” he said.
Mr Chidzidzi said the development will stimulate domestic tourism activity. “Our work is cut out for us as we have to ensure excellent service provision under the approved guidelines and strict protocols.
“The sector is ready and everyone cannot wait to start operating under the new conditions,” he said.
Under the relaxed terms, restaurants are now allowed to serve sitting customers within their premises, but using only half their licensed capacity, while safari operations and national parks are allowed to re-open to help boost domestic tourism.
The global travel and tourism sector was the first area of economic activity to be hit by the Covid-19 crisis, with traveller figures dropping significantly as countries across the globe, Zimbabwe among them, imposed lockdowns.
Government has made available a $500 million bank guarantee facility to help the tourism and hospitality sector to recover. The facility enables the tourism sector to access working capital loans from banks.