The Zimbabwe government has committed to provide a $500 Million stimulus package to the tourism sector of Zimbabwe which is most affected hardest by coronavirus.

Tourism minister Mangaliso Ndluvo held a meeting on the tourism stimulus package with the country’s tourism industry players at the ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality at Kaguvi building in Harare yesterday.

This comes as 2020 is projected to be a very difficult year for the tourism business as countries including Zimbabwe have gone into lockdown.

“The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak which started in November 2019 is expected to further dampen travel and tourism in Zimbabwe and indeed globally,” Ndlovu said at the meeting.

Ndlovu expressed that this was predicated on the assumption that the current status of restrictions on International travel persists until year end especially in Zimbabwe’s major source markets of Europe and the USA.

“We also anticipate a consequent fall in tourism business, with the country set to lose between US$500 million – US$1.1 billion in potential tourism revenue in 2020 from the projected revenue of US$1.4 billion,” Ndlovu said further.

“I am pleased to advise the tourism sector stakeholders that following their detailed submissions to Government, the President and Cabinet have approved the Tourism Sector Support Scheme,” Ndlovu said at the meeting.

Waiver of Value Added Tax on Domestic Tourism. The government has therefore approved a waiver of Value Added Tax payable by domestic tourist for accommodation and services.

Deferment of Liquidation of Foreign Currency paid by International Clients. The government has approved the deferment of the liquidation of foreign currency paid by international clients who could not travel due to the pandemic.

Support for Zimbabwe Tourism Authority. Currently the ZTA is funded largely from the 2% Levy charged on tourists travelling into the country. ZTA will be afforded substantial support to ensure that the organization is capacitated to fully discharge its mandate.

Payment of Money owed to Tourism Operators by Various Government Institutions. In addition, government has also undertaken to settle all long overdue bills with the Tourism Sector players for services already rendered.

Ndlovu said there are opportunities evidently abundant in the sector which have to be unlocked by innovative and enterprising youths to create the competitive edge.