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Mzembi says a focused minister, growth in the tourism sector bears testimony
08/01/2017 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
Focused ... Toursim minister, Walter Mzembi
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TOURISM minister Walter Mzembi says his department has remained one of the few relatively well performing portfolios because of his ability to remain focused on deliverables when others dwell on unproductive debates.

The sentiments come after President Robert Mugabe once commended the ministry for its ability to attract international tourists despite the country being seen negatively due to human rights violations and graft.

“It is a highly focused ministry. You would find that we are not ordinarily sucked into all the favourite national debates,” said Mzembi in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com recently.

He added, “It’s a very easy sector to measure. If I’m skiving and waffling you will pick it very easily through international arrivals.

“We are arguably, in sub-Saharan Africa, one of the few internationally acknowledged to have registered growth in tourism by nine percent at the end of 2015, even endorsements by the UNWTO.”

In 2013, the sector generated at least $856 million in export revenues and Mzembi targets to grow it into a $5 billion industry by 2020.

Currently, it is estimated to be contributing 10 percent to Zimbabwe’s GDP which is averaged at $5, 92 billion.

With Mugabe playing the succession game with cards close to his chest, government has failed to stir the economy from the doldrums since the last election in 2013 with most ministers focusing on they can help their faction take over from Mugabe.

Following the country’s co-hosting of the UNWTO with Zambia in 2013, the minister is now eyeing to land the post of secretary general of the world tourism body—a position never held by an African before.

Mzembi is currently serving his second term as chairperson of UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa.

Although still ranked one of the major earners of foreign currency, Zimbabwe’s tourism sector has been affected by the country’s negative image.



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