HOSPITALITY Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) Matabeleland North chair, Mr Anald Musonza, has urged tourism players in Victoria Falls to rally their counterparts in other destinations to mobilise citizens to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
The Government deliberately selected Victoria Falls as the first city to roll-out mass vaccination in March because of its strategic position as the face and gateway into the country.
Authorities have said more than 80 percent of the targeted population in the city has been vaccinated, while tourism and hospitality industry players have vaccinated almost 100 percent of staff.
The Government is on a drive to replicate the same in all border towns to steer the country into national herd immunity and help speed up revival of tourism operations, which has literally been grounded by the pandemic.
The vaccine has proven to be effective based on statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care where a majority of new cases and deaths are people who were not vaccinated.
Victoria Falls has lesser cases than neighbouring Hwange town in the same district where vaccination was only rolled out recently.
Mr Musonza said the success of Victoria Falls and local community is that when the pandemic started, all stakeholders from the private and public sector came together and formulated awareness strategies including how to come up with isolation and quarantine centres to complement Government efforts.
"I must say what we have done is commendable but where we are right now, we can't be complacent. That we reported the first case in Victoria Falls gave us a shock, which propelled us to prepare better and to be as adapt as possible as a community to work together for the common good," he said.
"What we have been able to do as Victoria Falls is to advocate other destinations to adopt a similar strategy. It is now happening in the eastern highlands, Kariba and other places where there is now good uptake of the vaccine. We were forward thinking because we knew the impact of the pandemic on our industry," said Mr Musonza.
HAZ successfully lobbied the Government to include the tourism industry in the list of essential service providers and has been in the forefront imploring citizens to embrace vaccination.
"We hope other communities, towns and resort centres embrace this. Infections are very few here compared to other places because we were vaccinated and the impact is less on those vaccinated.
"This helps because we don't lose people and skilled labour unnecessarily and feel strongly others have to embrace this vaccination. We thank our Government for affording our communities this vaccination programme for free because it has really taken us where we are as Victoria Falls," said Mr Musonza.