Zimbabweâ€™s hope of reviving the tourism sector through accessing lines of credit from the international community has remained a pipe dream owing to the withdrawal of funding for refurbishing and development by the European Union as part of the blockâ€™s sanctions on the country.
The imposition of sanctions on the country by the EU in 2002 saw the bloc withdrawing funding for the tourism sector.
With Zimbabwe the only country in the SADC region not receiving such funding, effects began to show in the local tourism sector.
The West on the other hand continued to claim that the sanctions were in fact targeted.
However, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive, Mr. Karikoga Kaseke said it is clear that the sanctions are not targeted at individuals as purported by West but they are impacting negatively on the countryâ€™s economy.
Mr. Kaseke welcomed the National Anti-sanctions Petition Campaign saying it is a clear indication that the general populace of Zimbabwe are tired of the illegal sanctions and would like them removed.
â€œAll stakeholders in the tourism sector should support the noble cause by coming in their numbers and speak with one voice to enable the removal of sanctions, thereby making sure business returns back to normalcy and tourists continue to see Zimbabwe as their destination of choice,â€ said Mr. Kaseke.
The EU which used to be the countryâ€™s biggest source of tourists imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in February 2002 and member countries issued travel bans and warnings on their citizens wishing to travel to Zimbabwe.
Despite some of the counties having lifted the travel bans and warnings, it is in the field of funding and credit lines which have not yet been addressed.
Recently a meeting convened by the SADC tourism board saw the EU extending a helping hand in the development of tourism in the region, but Zimbabwe was left out.
Regional countries such as Kenya received US$7 million for the development of tourism.