Farai Shawn Matiashe
Vice-President General (Rtd) Dr Constantino Chiwenga has challenged the tourism sector to adapt its products to be accessible to people living with disability as they are currently largely discriminatory.
Addressing a Stakeholder Consultative Workshop for the National Tourism Sector Strategy held at Harare International Conference Center, in Harare recently, Vice President Chiwenga said most tourism products remain unattainable to people with disabilities.
“It is common knowledge that most products remain inaccessible to persons living with disabilities in contravention of government policy. So, I therefore urge this stakeholder consultative workshop to ensure that principles of universal accessibility are promoted in the tourism sector, and where there are legal and regulatory gaps, as is the case with the current Tourism Act, appropriate amendments must be made,” the Vice President said.
VP Chiwenga said the tourism sector should also empower marginalised groups and encourage young people and women to also actively participate in the sector.
“It is our administration’s desire that the tourism sector deliberately and willingly include empowerment of ordinary Zimbabwean youths and women in its development agenda.
“The days of a tourism sector where most of whose key players are confined to the elite society are gone and we need to put our heads together to ensure that poverty alleviation is one of the key deliverables of our national tourism sector strategy,” he said.
VP Chiwenga said the government under President Emmerson Mnangagwa is committed to a new economy characterized by equal opportunities for all citizens and residents through private institutions and enterprise.
Tourism sector is a major contributor to the national income through foreign exchange and employment generation.
A research released by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) depicts that tourism accounts for one in every ten jobs globally.
UNTWO forecasts that by year 2030 internationally, annual tourists arrivals will reach 1, 8 billion whilst in Africa arrivals are expected to grow from 58 million to 134 million per year.
Currently, Zimbabwe is earning over 800 million from tourism activities and the sector employes around 300 000 people directly and indirectly.
Projections of tourist arrivals are expected to grow from the 2, 1 million registered in 2016 to over 2, 3 million in 2018.