By Judith Sibanda
TOURISM operators countrywide have “ignored” government’s call to reduce accommodation and activities fees, amid massive decline in domestic tourism.
Employers Association of Tourism Operators ( EASTO) Clement Mukwasi said even though the vice president Kembo Mohadi had in March urged tourism stakeholders to reduce their domestic pricing during his interface programme with tourism players, none of the companies had taken heed of the calls.
Mukwasi said they had however started nationwide consultations to peg their activities at competitive prices.
“The tourism industry need to indeed introduce a three tire pricing system in that we must have a domestic prize, regional and domestic prize, although the prizes must be enable companies to pay salaries and remain with attractive facilities that will make sure that they compete on the international market,” he said
“As things are, we are actually consulting on what may actually be best range of prices that we can actually issue out as an industry because it will not work for one company or one sector of our companies where other companies will reduce their prizes while some increase, so consultations have begun and we are sure that in due course the result of such consultations are going to result in the revision of prices based on domestic market.”
Mukwasi said due to the worsening economy, domestic tourism had massively declined.
“Take note that the domestic market is actually less than 10% of our total receipts and undeniably, probably because the charges are beyond local people’s reach.
“ The call is genuine and sincere and indeed it is going to increase the accessibility of our products by the domestic market, but we say charity must also begin at home.
“The facilities that are controlled by government like national parks facilities, national museums and monuments and other touristic facilities that are directly under the preview of parastatals must also have a three-tire prizing system because the heritage is ours as Zimbabweans and everyone must have access to such destinations.
“Whenever people come to any destination they must understand it as their own destination by virtue of them being citizens. When they go out there they are able to market their destination. I am sure that when they travel and have access to their domestic attractions our marketing is going to be easier because every citizen is going to understand.”
VP Mohadi said private companies needed to collaborate with government’s effort to revive the economy through domestic and foreign tourism.
He had said government was planning on formulating a policy that would govern pricing of local tourism services.
Companies are charging their prices is United States dollars or the equivalent prevailing rate on that day.