By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE’s tourism sector has suffered a total loss of US$690 million due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s first National Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) launched Thursday has said.
The account was developed in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organisations (UNWTO) and the Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry as part of the Zimbabwe Destination Development Program with technical assistance from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
“Tourism in Zimbabwe has been significantly, impacted by the pandemic, with the introduction of travel restrictions and lower demand from tourists leading to a massive fall in visitors. The loss to the national economy is estimated at US$690 million,” the TSA said.
Tourism accounts for 4,25% of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a value of US$1,03 billion in 2018.
Apart from recording the number of tourists visiting the country, the initiative also provides monetary and non-monetary tourism data related to demand and supply.
It also measures the value of expenditure on goods and services across all types of tourism as well as the value of tourism-sector industries producing goods and services as well as quantifying tourism’s contribution to GDP and national employment rates.
IFC’s Country Manager, Adamou Labara said such data highlight tips for policy makers.
“These empirical findings highlight the opportunity for policymakers in Zimbabwe to support recovery of the tourism sector through stimulating traveller demand, and responsibly reducing barriers to entry,” he said.
The TSA is expected to contribute towards the sustainable recovery and growth from the impacts of the pandemic as one of the key milestone projects for the tourism sector under the National Development Strategy (NDS1 2021-2025).