By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) met with players in the country’s tourism sector to discuss pricing issues, state of the sector and also trying to find ways to survive the current economic challenges.
The business operating environment in the country has been faced with massive price distortions from the supply side which have forced retailers to follow suit and the tourism sector has not been spared.
There was a general consensus from players who attended the meeting that the tourism sector is facing challenges with the cost of doing business which is leaving them with no choice but to increase their prices.
Speaking after the meeting, ZTA chief executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke said he was happy with the resolution and that solutions will be found soon.
“It was a very successful and very fruitful meeting and we discussed everything, it was a no holds barred meeting and everybody was very clear on the issues discussed.
“I am very happy that they (operators) will reign on each other and in particular the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) will make sure that they don’t put charges that are ridiculous, especially when we are talking about foreign international tourists, it’s bad.
“That was now basically chasing away tourists and I would like to think we have intervened the right time. I am certain that it (pricing challenges) will be resolved by end of this week,” he said.
TBCZ applauded ZTA for holding the meeting but blamed banks for not having a common policy with regards to foreign currency accounts which has been a cause for problems.
“The meeting was very fruitful,” said Paul Matamisa the TBCZ chief executive officer, “In that, we managed to bridge the gap of understanding of the market forces that are currently prevailing in our markets, in particular how we deal with the US dollar,” he said.
Matamisa added that “we also spoke about issues of FCA accounts, nostro accounts and so on, how they are going to be looked at and how we are going to be dealing with them going forward.
“It appears though that at the moment various banks have got their own policies on how they look at the foreign currency accounts as well as the RTGs accounts and the local accounts.
The TBCZ CEO said it doesn’t look like there is a common way of doing things which then creates a lot of problems for operators.
“Every bank appears to have its own way of doing things but we are saying the RBZ must intervene so that we have a common system that is operating in all banks for these nostro and RTGS accounts,” he said.
Tourism is low hanging fruit for the country with quick wins and has the capacity to generate the much needed foreign currency if adequately supported.
The sector has been identified as one of the key pillars of the new dispensation’s economic revival strategy together with mining, manufacturing and agriculture.
Meanwhile, the meeting that ZTA held with tourism players is part of a series of similar meetings that are going to be held in a bid to ensure the tourism sector is operating and moving in the same direction in marketing destination Zimbabwe.-