Magazine article African Business

Zim Tourism 'Riddled with Corruption.' (Zimbabwe)

Magazine article African Business

Zim Tourism 'Riddled with Corruption.' (Zimbabwe)

Article excerpt

A Parliamentary report has revealed that despite its apparent success, Zimbabwe's expanding tourism sector is riddled with corruption, disorganisation and in-house fighting.

Fuzzy policies are threatening to slow the growth of Zimbabwe's fastest developing sector, tourism. Compared to 1985 figures, the number of tourists visiting Zimbabwe has trebled. Foreign visitors, the majority of whom come from neighbouring South Africa, spent about Z$2bn ($200m) in 1995 alone. This is three and a half times the amount of revenue obtained in 1990. These impressive figures, however, mask the problems that are facing an industry which contributes 4.6% of the country's GDP. So, what is the problem?

A Parliamentary report released recently sees Mr Chen Chimutengwende, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, come in for a fair slice of criticism. However, he is not alone. Despite a revamped leadership of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, the report states, it is still "riddled by corruption, infighting, jealousy between senior officers, low morale due to mistrust of head office, mismanagement, communication breakdown, poor conditions of service, poor infrastructure at Hwange and Gonarezhou national parks and a lack of resources."

A select committee of MPs was "appalled to note that the Department has no strategic plan". Despite the fact Zimbabwe's tourism industry employs about one in every 17 workers, the Department has failed to collate any information on revenue expenditure, tourism statistics or other vital figures.

The report notes that Zimbabwe lacks any fundamental plan to decide whether the country should head for low-volume, high-priced tourism or high-volume, low-priced tourism. It refers to a "management crisis" at head office with a multitude of "mini committees within committees" which has let crucial decisions be left unattended for too long. …

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