PERMANENT Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Munesu Munodawafa has called on potential investors to take advantage of investment opportunities in the accommodation sector.
Zimbabwe is currently facing room shortages on the back of an increasing number of arrivals owing to various marketing and branding strategies that ZTA, the Ministry and players have employed.
In 2018, the country surpassed what was its highest number of arrivals 2.2 million that had been attained in 1999 and expectations are that the 2019 figures will be even higher on the back of 350 Chinese per month under the Touch Road International Holdings deal.
Speaking on the sidelines of the International Tourism Bourse (ITB)https://www.tourismfocus.co.zw/2019/03/07/zimbabwe-receives-global-tourism-awards-at-itb/ trade in Berlin, Germany where the country is engaging with potential tourism investors, Munodawafa said Zimbabwe needs more hotels and lodges to cater for the expected increase in arrival statistics
“We are targeting a lot of investments in the tourism sector; we are coming almost to an optimum in terms of room occupancy and so investment in accommodation becomes key and so we need investment in building more lodges and hotels.
“We have plenty of leisure areas but we need our own entrepreneurs to come on board and invest as well. I would like to appeal to Zimbabweans to identify these spots and try to then invite potential foreign partners for engagement,” he said.
Currently, Victoria Falls is has recorded the highest number of tourism investments since the coming in of the new dispensation in November 2017. Both local and international investors are building new hotels and lodges while others are sprucing up their existing facilities.
Government is offering lucrative incentives packages especially for investors in the tourism sector leveraging on the designated special economic zones areas.
Zimbabwe has already caught the eye of top Chinese investors who are keen on massive capital projects in Victoria Falls special zone area and also work is underway for the possible construction of a grand prix in the resort town.
Meanwhile, Munodawafa has revealed that opportunities are also available in the leisure and cultural products taking advantage of such facilities as the Victoria Falls.
“In Victoria falls we have that land 1200 hectares ready for investment. In Tugwi Mukosi, we have opportunities for investments for a world class golf course, and these are projects that will push Zimbabwean tourism to even greater heights,” he said.
In terms of the fiscal incentives that were gazetted in the Finance Act of 2017, there is zero-rated corporate income tax for the first five years of operation with a corporate tax rate of 15 percent applying thereafter; there is also a duty-free importation on capital equipment.
Other fiscal incentives include a special initial allowance of 50 percent of cost from year one and 25 percent in the subsequent two years; exemption from non-residents tax on fees for services that are not locally available; exemption from non-residents tax on fees for services that are not locally available, and zero-rated capital gains tax, among others.
Tourism has been identified as one of the country’s key pillars for economic revival together with manufacturing, agriculture and mining and tourism has specially been lauded as a low hanging fruit with quick results for the country especially in terms of earning the scarce foreign currency.
Zimbabwe received 2.6 million arrivals in 2018 generating about $1 billion in terms of receipts and the target now is to grow this arrival base with a strong focus on key markets such as Germany projected to improve with a 15 percent margin, as well as other markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom which continue to push figures on international arrivals.