ZTA issues warning over protests

Harare - The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has raised concerns over recent violent clashes between police and protestors which he said have dented the country’s image as a safe tourist destination.

ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke told the Daily News on the side-lines of the just-ended Gwanda gospel festival that tourists were reluctant to visit Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe is on fire and this is only helping chase away tourists.

“As we speak, the capital city Harare has been ranked among the top three unliveable cities in the world and that is true because even Zimbabweans themselves are not comfortable living there,” said Kaseke.

“The continuous demonstrations, the looting, violence and burning of cars are making us an impossible destination.

“Who can visit a country or even a city that is on fire which is on the news every day?

“As Zimbabweans, we should try and solve our differences amicably because the protests are not good for the country.

“Authorities have to find common ground, they have to find a formula and address issues if they are serious in resolving their problems,” added the ZTA chief.

In recent months, angry Zimbabweans have been staging protests over President Robert Mugabe’s polices which they say have been catastrophic.

Two weeks ago, police fought running battles with protestors in bloody clashes which destroyed property worth tens of thousands of dollars, prompting the international community to express fears of a relapse into the unstable 2008 period.

On Thursday, police issued a ban on demonstrations in central Harare for two weeks as pro-democracy groups and opposition political parties were plotting to roll out more protests across the country.

The ZTA has been at the forefront of trying to spruce up Zimbabwe’s image which had been battered by negative publicity during the political and economic meltdown in the run-up to the 2000, 2005 and 2008 elections.

Kaseke said, over the years, he has been marketing the Zimbabwe brand without a proper marketing budget.

“As I speak, I have no marketing budget. It has been difficult and it makes my task hard. But I will keep on knocking on government’s doors because I know that one day someone within will hear me and answer me,” said Kaseke.

The ZTA chief executive said while Zimbabwe is naturally a tourist destination of note “we are killing it with what we are doing”.

Comments (1)

Karikoga - the tear gas and water fire are used at random so any tourist with a functional brain will not dare be caught up in such a melee. Tell your boss to solve the problems at hand instead of threatening us like Ian Douglas Smith and his Rhodesia Front. We're not scared anymore. We might for now, run away from the tear gas and water canons but both these can run out - then what?

Sagitarr - 5 September 2016

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