Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Walter MZembi has refused to back down on the issue of numerous road blocks along the country’s roads. Mzembi has appealed to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to reduce the number of road blocks on numerous occasions arguing that it was negatively impacting the tourism industry. He recently revealed that the number of visitors from Zimbabwe had plunged from 1,5 million to around 600 000.
Speaking at the pre-Harare Agricultural Show workshop last week, Mzembi said:
I speak about roadblocks not because I want to indict the Commissioner-General or the Minister of Home Affairs. It doesn’t matter how attractive a destination is. If they are constituted in a conflict or war zone, they will not sell. Even in dealing with security, let us brand your actions so that you police in a different way.
We should not score points against each other. It is not about winning arguments. The one that should win is brand Zimbabwe. Two million people visit South Africa yearly. They spend days there. Only last week, I was being informed that we have tumbled from where we were from 1,5 million to 600 000 arrivals from South Africa; the self-drives which used to happen from Beitbridge.
Other than facilitating regional trade, it also facilitated self-drives for people from South Africa who would be visiting Gwanda, Masvingo up to Kariba. The roadblock issues that these people cite. . . they say, ‘I cannot do it: Twenty times forking out so much money until I reach my destination.’ That is what they say, and I am not indicting anyone.
More: Sunday Mail