May 29 2017 ‑ ZIMBABWEAN tourism minister Walter Mzembi on (today) Monday says that he wanted the numerous police roadblocks — that tourists to the country said were “a nuisance” — to be addressed.
He said that a meeting with relevant authorities was on the cards. Efforts by lawmakers, citizens and lobby groups to have the police scale down roadblocks on the country’s highways and other smaller city roads have not yielded results.
ZimStats, the statistics agency, said in a visitor exit survey police roadblocks were highlighted as a major concern. It is against this backdrop that Mzembi wants the issue of police roadblocks addressed.
He also says that he would take up the issue with his Cabinet colleagues to make them “understand what the market is saying” about the roadblocks.
“We should iron this out. It will be dealt with. I’m back! The boy is back in town,” Mzembi told reporters.
Under the visitors’ intentions on repeat visits section, the ZimStats 2015-16 Visitors’ Exit Survey said 96 percent of the visitors indicated they would visit Zimbabwe again.
The four percent that said they would not visit again indicated high prices (63.2 percent), harassment by police (43.2 percent) and poor infrastructure and other facilities (31.1 percent).
Mzembi said since it was the market that was expressing displeasure, government was supposed to respond to that “within the framework of ease-to-do business and within the framework of positive enabler action that is required in order to grow the product”.
“Concern is not about policing, but about inordinate presence, excessive presence. This is the same concern communicated by the International Visit Exit Survey,” Mzembi said.
“The International Visit Exit Survey was created [by government]to ensure those enabler activities and areas that are necessary for a smooth and functioning tourism product are attended to.”
The tourism minister said tourists had expressed reservations that the police had to ensure there is peace in the country, “but not to the extent where it becomes a nuisance to the travelling public and to tourism”.
Mzembi said there would be no finger-pointing, and neither would there be aggression towards any particular party.
In early May, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke urged the government to urgently order the police to desist from mounting countless roadblocks on major highways, saying were tarnishing the country’s image and frustrating foreign visitors. –ANA