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Zim needs US$3bn tourism injection

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ZIMBABWE is scouting for investors to inject at least US$3 billion into tourism, which is currently recovering from a slowdown in business triggered by the outbreak of Covid-19 and economic meltdown, a report done by the country’s investment agency has shown.

BERNARD MPOFU

Official statistics show that tourism accounted for 4.25% of gross domestic product in 2018, which translated to US$1.03 billion. In 2019, the sector accounted for 6.3% of the GDP.

According to the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (Zida) projects booklet, the domestic tourism industry, which is battling competition from regional and international peers, requires major upgrades as well as new experiences to position the country as a destination of choice.

Some of the major projects which require a huge capital outlay are the Mtarazi Tourism Resort which requires US$700 million for a joint venture which will entail the construction of a luxury hotel, theme park, leisure centre, golf estate, shopping mall, conference centre and condors/time shares.

The country reported its first case of coronavirus in March 2020, prompting the authorities to enforce several measures such as halting global travel which hit hard the tourism industry.

 According to the private sector lending arm of the World Bank Group, Zimbabwe lost US$700 million in business due to Covid-19 restrictions.  

Mosi-Oa-Tunya Development Company wants a US$300 public-private partnership to establish the Victoria Falls Integrated Resort project. The project will entail the construction of a five-star hotel and three-star hotel, among other key amenities. 

Kariba Municipality and Kariba Integrated Resort require a total of US$850 million for the setting up of world-class hotel infrastructure.

Other tourism projects which require less capital include Mutare City Council’s ambitious plan to set up a five-star hotel in the eastern border town.

There is also the proposed US$100 million Zimbabwe International Trade Fair luxury hotel.

The Zida report reveals plans to construct a US$100 million five-star hotel and conference centre in Binga.

Industry players say while the country has many scenic places, a huge external debt and concerns over policy inconsistency have stood out as the elephant in the living room.

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