By Clayton Shereni

PLAYERS in Masvingo’s tourism sector have revealed that they are still recovering from effects of the Covid-19 induced lockdown which restricted travel and subsequently affected business over the past two years.

This came out during an engagement meeting hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) at a local hotel where they met tourism stakeholders in Masvingo province in a drive to promote sustainable tourism.

National Museums and Monuments (NMMZ) Regional Director, Lovemore Mandima said that they are recording some positives and that the number of tourists has since increased as compared to previous years.

“Business has improved a bit for Masvingo tourism business as compared to the time of Covid-19 induced lockdowns, when we had a hard time in the tourism sector. The number of people visiting our resort areas has increased, there is a positive trend,” said Mandima.

Some players in the industry also concurred, saying they are making inroads in improving the tourism business in the province despite facing numerous challenges including the harsh economic situation in the country.

Nyuni Mountain Lodge general manager, Alysham Bere echoed the sentiment that Covid-19 greatly affected their operations although they are now coping.

“It seems as if we are out of the woods now but the Covid-19 induced lockdown affected us seriously. However, we are now managing because business is improving. We expect that there will be good business in the coming year and hope to see Masvingo reclaiming its space as a giant tourist attraction,” Bere said.

Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) tourism lecturer, Dr Phanos Matura implored players to embrace sustainable and developmental tourism for them to thrive.

“We urge players in the tourism sector to use sustainable tourism in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so that they continue in business. The economy isn’t friendly but if those in the tourism business embrace sustainable and developmental tourism they won’t go wrong because it is the future,” he said.

Masvingo boasts of places like Great Zimbabwe monuments, Hippo Creek, Nyuni Mountains, Glenlivet, Clevers Resort among other resort places spread across the province.

ZTA is on a drive to promote Zimbabwe’s travel and tourism sector as it seeks to unlock the full potential of all the country’s tourist attractions.