THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has welcomed further relaxation of the national lockdown under level 2 saying the move is a positive step towards full re-opening of the tourism sector.
Zimbabwe and the rest of the world recently embarked on national lockdown as part of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Due to the Covid-19-induced lockdown, the tourism and hospitality sector has been largely affected.
On Tuesday, Cabinet announced that lockdown regulations for the tourism and hospitality industry had been partially relaxed allowing the sector to carefully and safely resume limited operations.
In a statement, ZTA acting chief executive officer Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said the sector has received with great excitement the news of the further relaxation of the national lockdown.
“The tourism industry is extremely excited about the development, which is a great stride towards opening of the tourism sector.
“We acknowledge the efforts by the authorities and indeed thd nation to keep the spread of Covid-19 under check and thank the Almighty for his watchful eye over our nation,” he said.
Mr Chidzidzi said the development will stimulate domestic tourism activity as the tourism sector anxiously expects regional and international traffic to be allowed.
“Our work is cut out for us as we have to ensure excellent service provision under the approved guidelines and strict protocols.
“The sector is ready and everyone cannot wait to start operating under the new conditions,” he said.
Under the relaxed terms, restaurants are now allowed to serve sitting customers within their premises, but using only half their licensed capacity, while safari operations and national parks are allowed to re-open to help boost domestic tourism.
The global travel and tourism sector was the first area of economic activity to be hit by the Covid-19 crisis, with traveller figures dropping significantly as countries across the globe, Zimbabwe among them, imposed lockdowns.
Government has already availed a $500 million bank guarantee facility to help the tourism and hospitality sector survive the slump and prepare for recovery.
The facility is aimed at assisting the tourism sector access working capital loans from banks and insulate their businesses from the effects of the pandemic.
With the need to maintain strict controls on foreign travellers entering Zimbabwe, including the mandatory quarantine, the sector and Government are looking at domestic tourism to start the recovery.chronicle