By Alois Vinga
GOVERNMENT has moved to lift its blanket ban imposed on tourism activities at the onset of the current Covid-19 outbreak March this year.
Addressing the media Thursday, Tourism Minister, Mangaliso Ndlovu said the lifting of the ban was with immediate effect.
Said the minister, “Following cabinet approval, all tourism activities can now resume operations.
“These include but are not limited to game drives, bungee jumping, zip liners, helicopter rides, lion walks, elephant rides and all registered tourism activities.”
Ndlovu said the lifting of the ban will also include the resumption of boat operations on Zimbabwe’s lakes, both for tourism and fishing and other tourism related activities.
He emphasised these should be carried out in strict compliance with Covid-19 Pandemic Guidelines.
The development comes at a time when many workers in the sector were exposed to retrenchments, layoffs and indefinite unpaid leave, almost threatening livelihoods in major resort towns.
The minister said the opening of airports to both domestic and international travel was still under consideration by government.
However, key players in the sector urged government to relax other measures which were likely to hinder the generation of meaningful business for the sector.
“Reopening all hotels without addressing the issue of inter-city travel poses a problem because we are likely to reopen the premises without any clients coming through,” said Ed Shangwa, African Sun Limited group managing director.
Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe president, Emmanuel Fundira bemoaned that the industry was still saddled with a number of government licensing obligations among other standardised tariffs to be paid for despite hotels having been closed for five months.
Zimbabwe has been on prolonged lockdown since the end of March this year.
Most businesses have suffered severe volume declines at a time when operational costs remain high.