Tourism Industry bemoans travel restrictions ahead of festive season

By ZBC Reporter

Travel restrictions imposed by the United Kingdom have dented the tourism hype that is normally associated with the festive season, with bookings being cancelled.

Voice: The United Kingdom and other Western countries announced new Civid-19 restrictive measures after a new variant was detected in South Africa.

Players in the tourism industry have lamented the travel restrictions which have affected the SADC region and coincide with the festive season which is normally associated with a boom in the sector.

Speaking to ZBC News Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe President Wengayi Nhau explained the effect of the travel ban on the local tourism industry.

“The festive season had good occupancy close to 60-80% with most diaspora guests coming home. With the latest flight bans due to Omicron variant, we have started seeing huge cancellations and or postponed travel plans. We are yet to see the full impact of this recent ban but the sad part is we are seeing more and more cancellations of bookings and demand for refunds. This festive season had a good mixture of locals, regional and international tourists booked in our hotels,” he said.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Mat North Chairperson Anald also lamented the travel ban saying it is ill-timed.

“The travel restrictions will have a severe negative impact on the tourism recovery trajectory that we have already started experiencing one in domestic and regional level as a global level. Southern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa were on the recovery path and now that is gone by the fact that the pronouncement were made. We believe that the timing was wrong in the sense that  there was no proper scientific investigations that were done that would have possibly led to a more friendly intervention than a whole blanket ban on movement of passenger traffic  between Europe and  Southern Africa and as well as other African countries. It will be unfortunate if this continues longer than today. We are hearing that there could be a relaxation of some of some of the requirements we maintain they were supposed not to be there in the first place,” explained Musonza.

 He however added that the sector is turning its attention to domestic tourism to minimise the effects of the travel restrictions.

“We believe that if we can manage to keep our domestic tourism open as much as we can, in strict adherence to the COVID-19 laid down protocols, it would alleviate the loss of income, the loss of jobs as well as save our businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector until such a time we have a permanent or more sustainable solutions that would help as far as combating the effects of COVID-19 are concerned,” he added.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation has revealed that despite recent improvements, uneven vaccination rates around the world and new Covid-19 strains could impact on the already slow recovery of the sector.

The post Tourism Industry bemoans travel restrictions ahead of festive season appeared first on ZBC NEWS.

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