SA tourism to Zimbabwe has gone down sharply

Published on : Thursday, July 21, 2016

South-African-Tourism1South African tourists going to Zimbabwe have decreased all of a sudden by almost half and Walter Mzembi , Zimbabwe’s tourism minister, thinks that the culprit here is the weak rand.


In an interview with News24 Mzembi said that there was a point when out of the 2.1 million tourists coming to Zimbabwe, 1.5 million were South Africans.


He said, “It went down by almost 50%, and that is not assisting (the struggling economy). The bullish US dollar has made Zimbabwe as a destination uncompetitive for South Africans and anyone not using US dollars.”


He confessed that Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a decline for quite some time due to low productivity and also because of the “bullish” US dollar which is the main currency of Zimbabwe.


70% of Zimbabwe’s imports came from South Africa and 77.8% of its exports were sent to that country. Also, two million people of Zimbabwe stayed in South Africa, being a part of the diaspora.

He said, “You can’t disregard or wish away umbilical relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe.”

Mzembi said that Zimbabwe did take some measures to control the imports from South Africa in order to hold on to the productivity decline of the country, but he also added that it could have been done in a better way.

He said, “You want to allow space for the travelling public to be able to import within duty remit.”

He mentioned that issues related to the ban would be discussed with the trade and industry department of South Africa “on a bureaucratic level.”

Asked how the country would deal with traders exporting goods from South Africa to other countries via Zimbabwe, Mzembi said the implementation of this still needed to be finalized.

He said, “All the unintended consequences have been acknowledged. The current exercise is to review and smoothen the implementation.”

He also added,“If there are any issues that need to be escalated at a political level, politicians will

Mzembi did not give much importance to the #ThisFlag protests in Zimbabwe, called it a political gimmick to bear advantages from the country’s economic situation. He also added that the women in protest were provocated by MDC, as they were wearing the party’s colour which is red.


Mzembi clarified that the 2018 elections would never be brought forward as the Government would not do something like that unless an election is due. He also added bringing the government to a fall is not in their agenda. He said, “It will never go in that direction because we know the cost of division for Zimbabwe, so we emphasise unity and cohesion”.

He compared Zimbabwe and Libya and Iraq. Both these countries almost came to a dead end because of too much of foreign intervention


Mzembi said that the late payment made to the civil servants should not be made into an issue, because like any other business, the Government also goes through financial problems sometimes.

He said that everyone including himself was affected by the late payment. He also added that everyone got $100 transport allowance till the time they weren’t given their salary.


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