Operators in the tourism industry should deposit their proceeds in local banks to facilitate development and growth of the sector, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has said. He told a Press conference last week that more than half of the revenue from the tourism sector was being banked offshore, a situation that was hampering expansion of the sector.
Minister Mzembi was also announcing the presence of the United Nations World Trade Organisation director for technical co-operation and services Mr Harsh Varma, who is in the country to carry out different projects in collaboration with the Tourism Ministry.
“With special mention to Victoria Falls, we receive the people and offer everything yet the accounts are kept in South Africa,” he said.
“The accounts should be held locally for the benefit of the nation which is currently facing liquidity challenges,” he said.
He said tourism had become one of the biggest contributors to the country’s economy together with mining and agriculture.
“If properly managed and given what is due to it, the sector will move the economy,” he said.
Minister Mzembi said he would take the opportunity of hosting the UNWTO General Assembly to unveil the tourism master plan.
He said the plan would set new targets and ambitions for the sector.
Meanwhile, Mr Varma said he was in the country to assist the Government formulate a long- term tourism development plan and establish a tourism satellite account.
Mr Varma said tourism was a strong engine for social and economic development.
“Zimbabwe needs a long-term framework on tourism development. The framework would be the Bible for development which will be followed by everyone including local governments and communities.”
Mr Varma said by voting for Zimbabwe to co-host the WTO General Assembly the world was showing confidence in the country.
He said the country should take the opportunity to show the world what it had to offer.
“The presence of the international tourism cream should present the chance for Zimbabwe to show what it has to offer.
“It is a generational opportunity which all of us will not have again in our lifetime,” he said. — New Ziana.