Michael Tome–Business Reporter
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) says it will revisit its business strategy in line with the changed Covid-19 oriented operating environment, which has seen the organisation remodelling its 2019-2023 strategic plan.
This development follows a challenging season for tourism in 2020 resulting from the unforeseen but disruptive Covid-19 pandemic, which took a toll on the local tourism sector, other key sectors of Zimbabwe’s economy and worldwide trade.
The advent of Covid-19 resulted in the imposition of travel bans and movement restrictions worldwide in a bid to curb its spread thus affecting travel and tourism.
After upsetting ZimParks profitability, Covid-19 resulted in the cancellation of already pre-scheduled hunts during the year 2020 and other major hunting trade shows. In his remarks at the organisation’s annual general meeting ,ZimParks director-general Dr Fulton Mangwanya noted that his organisation was devising means that will assist in the parks and wildlife management authority’s lucrativeness.
“We saw it necessary to refocus on business enhancement strategies which will encompass the designing and implementation of a marketing plan that will competitively reposition Zimparks in the domestic and regional market while maintaining visibility in the international market.
“The year 2020 made us realise the need to adjust the revenue mix by providing increased attention to sustainable utilisation of natural resources which is non-tourism in nature, we will also conduct product and process improvements to enhance value creation and to diversify revenue streams,” said Dr Mangwanya.
ZimParks recorded a 75 percent decline in tourist arrivals to 231 936 in 2020 from 928 391 in 2019. According to ZimParks the organisation had projected a 10 percent improvement in total tourist arrivals for the year 2020 based on the 2019 year’s arrivals.
However, the projected total arrivals which were pegged at 1 021 231 did not materialize after a marked decline in actual arrivals, which totalled 231 936, representing minus 77 percent target miss.
In July and August 2020, which are usually the two busiest months of the year, international arrivals fell by 81 and 79 percent respectively.
Traditionally, the majority of tourism income is derived from national park activities, which are normally frequented by high-value international tourists.
According to the latest data from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) global tourism suffered its worst year on record in 2020, with international arrivals dropping by 74 percent, a crisis which has put between 100 and 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk, many of them in small and medium-sized enterprises.
The world experienced large declines in arrivals in the first eight months of 2020 and the United Nations labelled the year as the worst year in tourism history.
Asia and the pacific, the first region to suffer from the impact of Covid-19, saw a 79 percent decrease in arrivals, followed by Africa and the Middle East which both recorded a -69 percent decline, Europe posted a -68 percent decline while the Americas arrivals closed the year at -65 percent.