Zimbabwe is dangling massive tourism investment opportunities to international markets as it seeks to tap into the deep pool of key European markets such as Germany.
The International Tourism Bourse (ITB) trade show has just set the right tonic for Zimbabwe to expand its horizon and lure strong visitor traffic this year.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mr Munesu Munodawafa outlined lucrative opportunities in resorts such as Victoria Falls as well as opportunities for capital projects in Tugwi-Mukosi.
“We are targeting investments in the tourism sector. We are coming almost to an optimum in terms of room occupancy, so investments in accommodation become key. Where do we invest in, we invest in lodges and hotels,” he said.
Zimbabwe is buoyed by positive sentiment by investors from the world’s second largest economy China who are eyeing massive capital projects in Victoria Falls which will translate to Zimbabwe hosting a Grand Prix arena.
“In Victoria Falls we have 1200 hectares of land ready for investment, in Tugwi-Mukosi we have opportunities for investments for a world class golf course, and these are projects that will push Zimbabwean tourism,” said Mr Munodawafa.
According to the permanent secretary, opportunities are also abound in leisure and cultural products.
“Leisure, we have plenty but we need our own entrepreneurs to come on board and invest and I want to appeal to Zimbabweans to identify these spots and try to then invite potential foreign partners for engagement,” he said.
Government is mooting a number of incentives for the potential investors in this sector, among these leveraging on the special economic zones status that will provide the investor with attractive packages as incentives.
In terms of the fiscal incentives that were gazzetted in the Finance Act of 2017, there is zero-rated corporate income tax for the first five years of operation with a corporate tax rate of 15 percent applying thereafter, there is also a duty-free importation on capital equipment.
The other fiscal incentives include a special initial allowance of 50 percent of cost from year one and 25 percent in the subsequent two years, exemption from non-residents tax on fees for services that are not locally available, exemption from non-residents tax on fees for services that are not locally available and zero-rated capital gains tax among others.
Lauded as a low hanging fruit, tourism is a critical plinth for Zimbabwe to record quick wins on its economic resurgence drive.
The 2019 National Budget identifies tourism is a pivotal pillar to earn the country foreign currency receipts, with Treasury emphasizing that the sector can grow its contribution to the gross domestic product to at least 20 percent.
The sector continues to record a positive trajectory after clocking 2.4 million arrivals last year translating to over $1 billion in earned receipts.
The target is to grow this arrival base with a strong focus on key markets such as Germany projected to improve with a 15 percent margin, as well as other markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom which continue to push figures on international arrivals.