Zimbabwe tourism to get boost from single regional visa

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Zimbabwe and other members of the Southern African Development Community aimed to establish a single visa for the region which Zimbabwe hoped would result in increased tourist flows into that country.

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Zimbabwe and other members of the Southern African Development Community aimed to establish a single visa for the region which Zimbabwe hoped would result in increased tourist flows into that country.

Emmanuel Fundira, chairman of Zimbabwe’s tourism council, said the tourism industry would be assured of improved road and rail infrastructure and a new airport in Harare.

Shingi Munyeza, CEO of Zimbabwe’s African Sun Hotels, said the establishment of a government of national unity brought stability to the country, with an increase in foreign visitors and hotel occupancies rising.

Zimbabwe intended to attract the tourism industry with tax breaks for five years and duty free imports, Zimbabwe tourism secretary Sylvester Mauganidze said on Tuesday.

In a discussion entitled “Straight Talk Zimbabwe” at the Hospitality Investment Conference in Johannesburg, Mauganidze said tourist businesses investing US500 000 would receive permanent residence, while those investing US100 000 would receive automatic work permits.

Previously Zimbabwe has struggled to attract foreign aid and investment because of President Robert Mugabe’s policies, which include a plan for local blacks to acquire 51 percent shares in foreign-owned firms, including mines and banks. Talks to improve Zimbabwe’s ties with the European Union have stalled over slow political reforms in Harare while US President Barack Obama said last month he was “heartbroken” by Zimbabwe’s decline.

Last week in New York billionaire Richard Branson urged people to invest in Zimbabwe, saying the world was wrong to wait instead of helping the politically volatile, impoverished southern African nation revive itself. “Zimbabwe is a magnificent country that has had a really rough few years and either the world can continue to wait and see and not invest … or the world can help (Prime Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai and the coalition government get Zimbabwe back on its feet,” Branson told Reuters in an interview.

Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is growing at very slow pace thanks to political stability & good ties of MR Tsvangirai with EU & United States. With his dedication Air Botswana Got the Aviation License to fly to Harare International & that’s why thousand of western African Passengers are able to book cheap flights to Harare(www.harareflights.co.uk) with Air Botswana. Moreover Safari lovers are able to connect from South Africa to Bulawayo with fly Kumba airlines 5 times a week now. Efforts to boost tourism sector & create opportunities for cheap travelling to & from Zimbabwe is one of the short listed domains in his agenda for 2010. Due to his efforts Air Zimbabwe has reduced their fares from Harare to London & they have introduced new fares for online customers who book from their website.

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