By Tichaona Kurewa
Players in the tourism industry have bemoaned the negative impact of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe saying they are slowing down the recovery of the sector post-COVID-19.
Before the imposition of illegal sanctions by the United States and its western allies, Zimbabwe was a destination of choice with thousands of people employed in the sector.
While efforts are being made to revive the tourism industry, the road to recovery has not been easy under the yoke of the illegal embargo.
Tourism executive Clement Mukwasi said, “The imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe has made our tourism destinations very expensive to international travellers. The international companies zone all countries that are on sanctions or on some travel alert as high-risk destinations. As such, tourists are paying very high insurance premiums in their countries before coming here. The sanction effects are therefore biting the Zimbabwe industry and the citizens of the source markets.”
Conservationist Langton Masunda disclosed that even funding for anti-poaching activities has run dry.
“We have huge stockpiles of ivory lying idle, benefiting nobody, costing the nation in storage. The proceeds from the sale of the ivory can be used for conservation purposes. As a result, the country has failed to provide water for the animals and to fund anti-poaching activities and the communities could not see the value in wildlife hence their participation in poaching activities, this all because of sanctions,” he said)
Other tourism players indicated that the illegal embargo has a chain reaction on other sectors of the economy such as retail.
Senzeni Tshuma, a tourism executive noted, “Tourists from the Western countries and others can longer travel to Zimbabwe affecting arrivals here, the sanctions must be lifted.”
“Even here where we sell various artefacts, sales have gone down because of reduced arrivals,” commented tourism player, Mercy Mushangwe.
Government and the private sector are however collaborating in looking for alternative markets through the second republic’s engagement and re-engagement agenda.