Nomvelo Siziba, Victoria Falls Reporter
TOURISM operators are opposed to the idea of travellers producing Covid-19 health clearance certificates when entering Zimbabwe.
They say improving precautionary measures and thorough screening at ports of entry is a better option.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting on Wednesday, tourism industry executives said the certification path was too stringent and would negatively affect the sector.
Shearwater Adventures public relations manager, Mr Clement Mukwasi, said there was no place in the world where people can just get into a hospital and demand to be tested for Covid-19.
He said tourists normally travel for a long time and pass through other destinations, which makes it cumbersome for travellers to meet that requirement.
“There is no place in the world where you would walk into a hospital and ask to be tested for Covid-19. Not even here in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, tourists traverse different countries over a long period of time. From which country should they have health certificates,” said Mr Mukwasi.
Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe regional spokesperson, Mrs Barbra Murasimwa, said the tourism sector has suffered a lot due to cancellations made because of Covid-19, which broke out in China and has spread to nearly 100 countries.
The percentage of tourist arrivals has dropped drastically, she said.
“As the tourism sector we have suffered a lot. For now we’re not ready to show our statistics to the public but looking at the statistics that were being compiled we have dropped to 30 percent. This is due to cancellations,” said Mrs Murasimwa.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority acting chief executive, Mr Givemore Chidzidzi, said the economy is dependent on the tourism sector as one of key forex earners. He said tourists need assurance that they are safe if coming to Zimbabwe.
“We need to assure the industry visiting us that they are safe here,” he said.
A senior director from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Mr Paul Chinakidzwa, said while Zimbabwe has only suspected cases of Covid-19, there are no confirmations yet.
“In Zimbabwe we had only suspects of people with the virus but they tested negative. To date Zimbabwe has not confirmed any cases of Covid-19,’’ he said. — @nomvelosiziba.