Covid-19 brings tourism to its knees

An aerial view of the falls in full flow in June 2018 (AFP)

by NORMA TSOPO

AS CORONAVIRUS is spreading death, panic and economic chaos around the globe with huge financial downturns for almost all industries Zimbabwe’s resurgent tourism has been brought down to its knees.

It is set to lose a huge amount of money from the US$1 billion that it earns from the 2,2 million annual visitors to the country.

Travel business which had emerged as a key vector of the deadly bug’s transmission is being frozen in an effort to combat the contagion.

Hotels and most accommodation facilities had been losing bookings but some of the local hotels are now taking the initiative of closing over the risk of Covid-19’s spreading.

And people are not going to travel for a while as the pandemic alters people’s persona circumstances and national economies.

Arnold Musonza the head of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe in Victoria Falls said some operators in the country’s main resorts lost a of their bookings because of the development.

Zimbabwe’s major source markets are the UK, United States, Japan, Germany, France and China. All are in major lockdowns.

The country’s April hunting season which attracts many American hunters was supposed to commence soon but major airlines have suspended flights with the Emirates cancelling flights into Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Beginning of March this year, flights into Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport had fallen by 30 percent, according to Evans Siziba head of Immigration at the civil aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.

This was before lockdown around the world intensified with many countries completely shutting down their boarders and banning any travel.

The Travel and Tourism Council says it could take up to ten months before the industry starts to recover.

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