By Patricia Mashiri
Following the 100-day Targeted Performance Programme initiative the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry led by Minister Priscah Mupfumira has intensified the development of the Tourism Satellite Accounting System in Zimbabwe to estimate the contribution of the sector to the economy.
The Satellite Account (TSA) as accepted by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is a statistical framework for economic measurement of tourism in national accounts. This ensures that the importance of the tourism sector is measured and understood in the context of the Zimbabwean economy as a whole.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Satellite Account will measure expenditure in the country by both resident and non-resident tourists, and thus gives picture of the overall size of the tourism industry, including its contribution to GDP and the economy.
The main Surveys, which contribute the data required to produce the TSA are visitor exit survey, which was carried out in 2015 and 2016 and the domestic tourism and outbound survey.
The tourism minister on 26 January 2018 visited Alaska Makonde area in Mashonaland West to witness the domestic and outbound survey, which is running through out the country. The survey seeks to come up with the correct statics of domestic travellers and raise awareness to the people about the places of attraction in Zimbabwe.
“The Domestic and Outbound survey is a household based sample survey designed to gather information on the travel behaviour and expenditure of Zimbabwe residents travelling within and across the boarders of Zimbabwe. In terms of domestic tourism this survey, will provide critical information for evidence-based policy making in terms of developing a travel culture among Zimbabweans.
“As you can see, this survey is currently underway, not in Mashonaland West only but in all the ten provinces of Zimbabwe and will be completed within the 100-day target. The process will run until 10 February 2018,” Minister Mupfumira said.
The Spiked Online Media team visited Ringson Tobias’ (a villager in Makonde) homestead where the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat) were carrying out the survey. They noticed that the family did not visit any place of interest around the country and outside within the last year. He stated that financial problems forced the family not to visit places of interest and pointed that last year he only visited Rafingora to attend his sister’s funeral.
The other family of an old age couple that was visited said they used to visit places of interest in their heydays. They no longer do so because of old age and they fear that if they travel now they will have no one to look after their homestead as well as their belongings such as livestock and gardens.
Minister Mupfumira added that there was need to introduce cultural and religious tourist centres in all areas so that all people will have access to learn and appreciate their cultures. She responded to the financial crisis issue saying that there would be a policy of reducing entrance fees to the local community, the elderly, vulnerable groups and school children.
A recent interview with Givemore Chidzidzi, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Chief Operating Officer, at a stakeholders’ brainstorming meeting showed that there should be awareness of tourist destinations. He said people always complain that the places of interests are expensive to visit and encouraged them to start by visiting local places like the Domboshava Caves.