12 March 2018

Zimbabwe: Minister to Tackle Border Chaos

Photo: Dylan Thomas / UKaid / Department for International Development
Barbed fencing lines the South Africa - Zimbabwe border.(file photo).

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira has vowed to eliminate all challenges faced by local and foreign tourists at the country's points of entry.

Treasury recently injected $9,3 million towards upgrading Beitbridge Border Post and improve service delivery, as part of Government's 100-day rapid results programme.

During peak periods such as the festive season, criminals usually take advantage of congestion at the country's busiest inland port of entry to con unsuspecting travellers of their money and goods.

They target mainly tourists and foreigners not familiar with customs and immigration formalities.

Addressing tour operators at the end of Meetings Africa in Sandton, South Africa recently, Minister Mupfumira said all cross-border hindrances, including exorbitant entry fees, would be addressed in time for Africa's Travel Indaba in May.

Africa's Travel Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three "must attend" events of its kind on the global calendar.

"I assumed this task willingly given the political will to change the way things were being done and the enthusiasm and excitement that we were getting from all the major source markets following the new political dispensation that saw Zimbabwe celebrate a peaceful transition," said Minister Mupfumira.

"Of course, there are other issues that the Government is still seized with to ensure that your travel from the point of entry and exit is a pleasure. This includes the ease of facilitation at the border posts, chief being the Beitbridge Border Post.

"This, like the previous former hindrance, not only affect tourists, but locals as well. I would like to assure you that by the time we meet again at the indaba we both will be celebrating the immense improvements that you and your clients will be experiencing at our border points. Feel free to take me to task come May 2018."

Minister Mupfumira revealed that her ministry would soon invite tour operators and journalists for a familiarisation tour of packages and entry points.

"We will soon be undertaking familiarisation tours for both the agents and the media, so that you can witness for yourself the great strides that we are collectively making as a sector," she said.

"Feel free to point out the areas that we must address and we will do our best to ensure that the needs of our travellers are met."

Other issues raised by tour operators included lack of internet connectivity at resorts, township and village tourism packages, and connecting flights.


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