Mzembi demands 1pct budget share for tourism

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TOURISM minister, Walter Mzembi has called on government to allocate at least one percent of the country’s budget to the sector saying it as a worthwhile investment that could earn the country more.
He was speaking at a sensitization workshop on the National Tourism Master Plan in Harare Thursday.
Mzembi said the sector had managed to grow from $200 million to at least $1 billion with no meaningful investment and could even grow bigger with investment.
“We can’t miss a pillar doing that much where we have grown from $200 million to one billion dollars; it is an exponential growth out of the natural attractions and beauty not investment in it. We must invest to get more from it,” he said.
He said there was need to have a Tourism Development Fund (TDF) that would be used to unlock the country’s potential and help develop competitive tourism products.
“We have started well so far with the opening up of airports which have become enablers for the sector. We now have bookings in advance for four to six months in Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo,” he said
“More  smaller airports need to be built across the country so as to distribute the internal transport network and tourists the choice to travel by road or by air and also the issue of costs; how do we make them competitive,” he added.
Mzembi said the main challenge was the level of awareness on the potential contribution that the sector could make to the economic development of the country.
“It is not akin to Zimbabwe, it is a global challenge,” he said.
He said tourism was the third export earner after food and chemicals and contributed 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, creating more than 300 million jobs globally.Advertisement