Published on : Thursday, March 16, 2017
Zimbabwe should focus more on maximizing revenues spent by visitors when they visit the country and gradually move away from issuing visas to tourists, Bernama News reports quoting the country’s Department of Immigration Principal Director Clemence Masango.
“The real benefit that accrues to any economy from tourism is what tourists spend when they come here, not the 50 US dollars visa fees,” Masango said Monday while giving an update on resumption of the Kaza uni-visa regime.
“We need to move away from visas to the extent possible and also not amplify too much of the revenue that we get from visa fees,” he added.
The Kaza uni-visa is a project between Zimbabwe and Zambia which was launched as a trial in 2014 and was discontinued a year later. The visa, which grants tourists access to both Zambia and Zimbabwe, was re-launched last December.
The ultimate vision is to include all the five countries that are part of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, commonly known as Kaza, consisting of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, if the trial run is successful.
In 2016 Zimbabwe scraped visa requirements for citizens of member nations the Southern African Development Community (SADC) while 37 other countries, including China, Turkey, Cuba, Algeria and Iran, were moved from Category C to Category B.
Masango said a boost in tourist arrivals through scrapping visas had a multiplier effect on the rest of the economy in terms of job creation among others. “This is the kind of broad thinking that we need when we talk about tourism visas, facilitation of travel and access to a destination,” he said.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) ranked Zimbabwe as one of the top 30 countries in the world that made major efforts to reduce travel restrictions and allow free movement of tourists in the past seven years, in 2016.