THE Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) has urged the government to end the chaos at the country’s border posts, especially Beitbridge, to improve tourist inflows.
HAZ president Tamuka Macheka told Southern Eye Business that Zimbabwe was losing millions of dollars due to the problems in Beitbridge.
Travellers often complain of delays at the border post that are caused by poor service delivery.
The problems usually escalate during holidays when thousands of Zimbabweans based in South Africa return home.
“There is a challenge at the Beitbridge border post and it’s a threat if we don’t address it,” Macheka said on the sidelines of the ongoing HAZ congress in Bulawayo.
“The problems at the border are discouraging travels because the processes are not working properly.”
He said people were spending less time on the South African side of the border than they did on the Zimbabwe border post.
Macheka said in order for a solution to be found authorities from both countries needed to agree on acceptable service delivery standards.
Beitbridge is the biggest inland port in sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile, Macheka said the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa was affecting tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe despite the fact that there are no recorded cases of the disease in the country.
“At the moment we are coming from the first half and the second half of the year is normally busy, but because of the challenges that we have, like liquidity problems, the occupancy has not been going up,” he said.
“The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has seen our room occupancies dropping as there was a lot of cancellation of visits by international travellers.”
Ebola has claimed almost 5 000 lives since its outbreak in West Africa early this year.
Most of the deaths have occurred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with eight in Nigeria and one in the United States, but countries throughout the world are on high alert.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority last month said Zimbabwe had lost business worth $6 million due to negative reports about the country’s preparedness to handle a possible outbreak.
HAZ is hosting the three-day congress in Bulawayo as a way of boosting the tourism and hospitality industry in the region.
The association is celebrating 70 years of existence under the theme: “HAZ at 70 Building a Culture of Service Excellence.”