The Zimbabwean government announced last week that it is resuming domestic and international flights after a six month sabbatical due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
The world over, flights had been stopped as global cases of the virus continued to surge. This has had a huge, negative impact on tourism, both domestically and internationally.
A direct impact of this was a restriction of movement globally that had an adverse impact of the global capacity utilization of the tourism sector
In recent weeks, countries have been opening up the skies to allow tourism and other economic activities to resume.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Spokesperson, Godfrey Koti told 263Chat recently that the resumption of international flights will give birth to the regrowth of the industry.
He further stated that all activities will be guided according to the dictates of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“From a hospitality and tourism industry perspective, we are working with a very strict and stringent guidelines and protocols that have come from the World health Organisation and being enforced by the Ministry of health and Childcare.
“As the ZTA, we are the agency that is in charge of compliancy of these safety procedures and guidelines that have been put in place, particularly within the tourism facilities,” Koti said.
ZTA Spokesperson , Godfrey Koti Speaks To 263Chat On The Return Of Tourism (Interview by Lovejoy Mutongwiza)
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in its 2020 travel and tourism recovery scenarios projects the global travel and tourism GDP to experience losses in the tune of $2,686 billion in the upside scenario, $3,435 billion in the baseline scenario and the worst case scenario of $5,543 billion for the year 2020.
To date, of the 7508 COVID-19 cases recorded in Zimbabwe, 224 people have died, raising question on the safety of reopening the sector, which attracts more than one millions visitors every year.
Koti, however, said the ZTA is charged with monitoring that people are following the guidelines.
“This will in turn give the necessary confidence to the market and we are definitely that much more than the marketing itself, we are prioritizing enforcing compliance from our players,” he said.
He added that the sector will benefit more from the recent opening up of the skies, which he said is a time to rebuild the damage done by the COVID-19.
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“We were obviously elated by the announcement. We are now looking forward to going back into tourism and what coronavirus had done was to deplete the whole sector but now we have an opportunity to rebuild and restart.
“What is more exciting the one takeaway from the coronavirus is that every destination is start from ground zero and we can compete equally? Of course there are some advantages that other destinations will have but we are really excited and ready to go and restart the business,” Koti added.
The tourism industry recently launched an ambitious five year, US$25 billion plan, which includes the revamping of the sector after the lockdown.
The plan focuses largely on three elements, domestic, regional and international tourism.
Last week, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the plan is to start with the resumption of domestic flights and then move to international flights
“Government is finalizing on modalities for the reopening of airports to support the resumption of the tourism sector,” Mutsvangwa said