The open skies policy and continued investment in hotels and lodges make part of the government’s broader strategy to promote the tourism sector which is a big factor in the national economy as a foreign currency earner.

Officially opening the 11th edition of the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Expo in Bulawayo, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga said apart from injecting $15 million for the Tourism Investment Fund, government has agreed to allow other international flights into the country to ensure that the destination is accessible.

He said a raft of measures being put in place including investments in the construction of new hotels in Victoria Falls are meant to increase the traffic of tourists in the country and promote the sector to become a leading earner of foreign currency.

The Vice President also spoke of the funding opportunities availed to help local operators expand and spruce up their facilities which include the tourism recovery fund for those in the hunting safari business and accommodation lodges.

The upgrading of the ports of entry is also expected to have an impact in the accessibility of Zimbabwe as a tourism destination and government is implementing changes especially at the Beitbridge and Kazungula borders.

Vice President Chiwenga said the government is happy with the current trends where there is a 45 percent increase in the room occupancy rate in Victoria Falls of between 95 and 110 percent since November last year.

Dr Chiwenga also commended the quality of exhibits this year at Sanganai saying the growth of the expo promotes President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business.