Zimbabwe’s industry minister laments negative effect of COVID-19 on tourism, trade

FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks at a media conference at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

Harare, Aug. 21, 2020 (Xinhua/Naija247news) Zimbabwe’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Sekai Nzenza on Friday bemoaned the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the country’s trade and tourism.

The minister said this while addressing a virtual annual general meeting of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Harare.

She said the pandemic had affected the country’s trade and tourism sector, which usually relies on foreign tourists and business meetings for revenue generation.

The pandemic had resulted in the cancellation of the country’s premier trade showcase, ZITF, which is held in the second largest city of Bulawayo in April every year.

“The meeting comes at a time when the company’s major event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic with negative impacts on revenue and tourism incomes for the Bulawayo community,” the minister said.

She said, “We meet at a time when the outbreak of this global pandemic has caused unprecedented widespread disruptions to every facet of life.”

“Beyond the evaluation of the risks presented by the pandemic, ZITF must also look at the opportunities arising as the country continues to look inward in terms of production through the local content strategy and export development,” she said.

Zimbabwe has been under a lockdown since March due to COVID-19, and although some of the restrictive measures have been eased, inter-city travel remains banned while most hotels are still closed.

As of Thursday, Zimbabwe had reported 5,745 COVID-19 cases, including 4,525 recoveries and 151 deaths.

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