MZEMBI : LETS HAVE OPEN BORDERS

Zimbabwe should scratch entry visa requirements if it is to meaningfully achieve its $5 billion income from the tourism industry, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi told Parliament yesterday.



He said there was a need to balance security concerns and the desire to make it easier for people to enter the country.

He was responding to a question from Proportional Representative Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) who wanted to know what Government was doing to mitigate cases of deportations owing to visa requirements, which she said was hurting the tourism sector.

Minister Mzembi said his wish was to have an open border and open sky policy that enabled easy access to countries in the region and on the continent.

“If we are to meet the $5 billion economy, we have to review the aspect of regulation of entry through visas. What we dream for Africa, if vision 2063 is to succeed, it is free movement of people. If you enter Cape (Town), you should have entered Cairo,” said Minister Mzembi.
His dream, said Minister Mzembi was to have an electronic passport and visa by 2020.

A pilot project, he said, had since started in Zambia and would cascade to selected Sadc countries.
Gokwe Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF) asked the effect of South Africa’s new immigration requirements on the $5 billion economy vision.
Minister Mzembi said the new requirements were not only affecting Zimbabwe but the South African tourism.

He said the new immigration regulations required that any person travelling to South Africa with a child under the age of 18 be accompanied by both parents, or an affidavit of another spouse confirming consent.

Minister Mzembi said he will soon raise the issue with South Africa at a Sadc Ministers of Tourism to be held at the end of this month in Angola.

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