The Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Honourable Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ncube, met with the small to medium enterprises (SME’s) in the tourism sector of Victoria Falls on Saturday at The Kingdom Hotel. The meeting was to discuss key challenges that the SME’s are facing in the tourism sector and to see where the Ministry could assist in continued collaborative efforts for recovery.

SME’s contribute significantly to employment creation, tourism investments, and tourist arrivals which are all key performance indicators of the tourism sector, and the Ministry has prioritised looking at ways to address some of the bottlenecks impacting recovery efforts, and to assist in creating a more enabling environment for recovery.

Speaking at the consultative meeting, the Honourable Minister Ncube highlighted the appreciation of the resilience that has been shown by the tourism sector as a whole, and the excellent uptake of the vaccination programme by the Victoria Falls stakeholders and residents in an effort to return to some form of normalcy. The Minister encouraged SME’s to accelerate marketing efforts to showcase Victoria Falls and its diversity of products, as well as to continue encouraging all front-line workers to be vaccinated.

A number of issues were raised by the SME’s which will be taken forward by Ministry to assess and feedback to the SME’s, and it is anticipated that the SME consultative meetings will now take place twice a year to ensure the Ministry can fully understand the challenges being faced by SME’s, and to work collectively towards recovery for the sector.

The consultative meeting was also attended by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mr M Munodawafa; the acting Chief Executive for Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Mr Givemore Chidzidzi; the Managing Director for Mosi-Oa-Tuyna Development Company Mr G Mapondera; and the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Manager for Matabeleland North Mr S Chibaya.

It was also highlighted that under the Zimbabwe Destination Development Programme, by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Climate, Environment, Tourism & Hospitality, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and IFC to support the recovery of Zimbabwe’s tourism sector, that SME’s have been prioritised and a strategy document is currently being worked on to provide technical support specifically for SME’s.

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