By Makanaka Masenyama
ZIMBABWE could have lost between US$500 million and US$1 billion during the closure of the tourism sector due to the devastating coronavirus lockdown, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has estimated.
In an interview with NewZim TV’s Business Brief on NewZimbabwe.com, ZTA spokesperson Godfrey Koti said the pandemic had a crippling impact on the tourism sector.
Tourism is one of Zimbabwe’s major foreign currency earners.
The government has since allowed the sector to reopen.
“It is going to be a very slow reopening. It’s going to be a very calculated reopening. The pandemic has obliterated tourism, it absolutely butchered tourism in terms of returns,” Koti said.
“In terms of revenue as Zimbabwe, we are sitting on a loss of between US$500 million to US$1 billion worth of income if we are judging with what we contributed to the fiscus last year and what we have targeted as growth.”
The ZTA spokesperson said the restart of the tourism industry was a great relief for grassroots communities who stand to benefit more from rejuvenated operations.
“The pandemic has a lot of instability to the economy and the contribution of the sector in its totality right from the grassroots level up to the top-dollar within the national GDP (gross domestic product).
“We are setting out what is called a tourism recovery strategy which we remodelled saying the tourism community must have its own economy of about $5 billion dollars by 2025. That is why we are promoting the culture of travel among the locals,” Koti said.