Government is set to extend the Statutory Instrument which governs the importation of tourism-related goods duty-free as a means to improve the industry.
Statutory Instrument 172 and 173 of 2013, allow players and operators in the tourism industry to import vehicles duty-free but will now include other products and capital goods the industry players require to grow their businesses.
This came out during a Bulawayo Tourism Indaba held by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry on Monday.
The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu noted that government is aware of the challenges players in the tourism sector are facing and have come up with ways to ensure their businesses remain viable.
“Ladies and gentlemen I must also reiterate that the government is fully aware of the high cost of retooling and acquisition of equipment and capital goods faced by the industry, as a solution to this challenge my ministry working with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has developed statutory instruments that enable registered tourism players to import capital goods free of duty,” said Hon Ndlovu.
“This is open for all registered tourism players and I urge all players to make use of this facility to modernize and refurbish their facilities”.
He added that the facility was not new and they seek to extend it by another three years.
“The duty-free is not something new we actually lobbied for an extension some of them were expected to expire last year but because of the nature of the transactions involved in capital goods were you place an order they are manufactured or prepared to your liking so we said these annual participations are not ideal so they have since given them three years or two years who will continue to engage as we access the extent of retooling in the sector,” said Hon Ndlovu.
“What needs to be done is to educate on what can be included in the capital goods, a list can always be provided through the Minister of finance but it is also important to look at that list and be satisfied as the ministry, so that is something they are working on and we need to make sure that it is adequately covering the needs of the industry so that list will try to be compiled.”
The minister added that they are willing to work with all agencies to make Bulawayo a formidable tourist attraction.
“As your ministry together with all our agencies we are ready to work with you to develop Bulawayo into a formidable tourist destination, we urge to build upon tourism’s ability to bring pleasure, adventure, art, sport and our natural heritage to create new tourism products that will anchor the growth of tourism in Bulawayo,” said Hon Ndlovu.
The Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan province Judith Ncube indicated that accommodation is a major challenge in the city.
“Accommodation remains a challenge in Bulawayo especially during major fares like ZITF, Sanganai/Hlanganani expo and Mine Entra and may I appeal to stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism sector to take measures to address these challenges as we will be hosting in April the main event of the Independence day and I am looking forward for all of you to participate, subscribe and donate,” said Hon Ncube.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Acting Chief Executive Givemore Chidzidzi said people in the hospitality industry should diversify their accommodation so that they cater for everyone.
“We have very few three-star hotels or two-star hotels which have suitable standards and we need to dwell into that and challenge a lot of people who are here, we want to see growth if you are operating a lodge that has got five rooms can we see you graduating from lodges to small hotels,” said Mr Chidzidzi.
“The accommodation in the country is mostly Eurocentric we need to be international we have been dealing with the western market for a long time and we have started looking east and to the middle east and we all know that those people have certain demands that they expect from us so when we are developing or improving on our properties or refurbishing lets bare that in mind.”