Political Violence Will Hurt Tourism: Maunganidze

He added that this year 2011 had become the best year since independence in terms of tourists arrivals but with an increase in
political violence this will be grossly affected.

Speaking to journalists in Bulawayo during the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA) workshop on Tuesday
Maunganidze said political parties in inclusive government should make sure violence stops to help Zimbabwe tourism industry’s growth.

“This year had become one of our best year ever in terms of tourists arrivals in Zimbabwe. We have so far  hit  2,5  million since the
beginning of the year beating our record of 2,3  million which we received  in 1997.

“So what we need is commitment from leaders of political parties in government. They should tell their supporters to stop violence as this
is affecting the country’s tourism industry,” said Maunganidze.

Maungaindze said most tourists coming to Zimbabwe these days are from Asia and the Middle East.

Violence is currently on the rise especially in Harare and other parts of the country.In the latest clashes hundreds of Movement for
Democratic Change supporters were injured when suspected Zanu-PF militants stormed the venue of a political rally in Chitungwiza city
last week and beat up people gathered to hear Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai speaking.

Maunganidze also said Zimbabwe has  the cheapest hotels  in the  world accusing  the western countries of  wanting  to force  hotels  here
to reduce rates  so that  they can stay  in Zimbabwe  for” free.”

Zimbabwe hotels have been criticized for charging exorbitant rates especially to tourists with most of them charging morethan US$200 per
night.

RESOTA is a Southern African Development Community (SADC) body responsible for the development and growth of tourism in the region.

The membership of RETOSA brings together  14 countries of the Southern African region – Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Lesotho, , Malawi,
Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.