Herald Reporter

The listing of Zimbabwe by US travel and tourism agency Tourlane as the safest place to visit in the world when countries reopen borders for international travel after Covid-19 restrictions reflects the peace and stability in the country and should help the tourism sector recover rapidly.

A former US Department of Defence and NATO security expert with years of experience on risk assessment worked with the travel agency to come up with a guide that tourists use to make decisions on where to travel.

According to the agency’s advisory: “In collaboration with our head of safety, Johann Jones, Tourlane has produced a guide to the safest places to travel once bans are lifted. By looking at key indicators such as Covid-19 cases, health regulations, population density, hours of sunlight, and flight connections to the US, we produced a guide to help travellers assess risk factors of both countries that are currently open and countries that may open soon.”

While the America government continues with illegal sanctions on the country, the travel agency has ranked Zimbabwe number one among top 15 destinations that include Thailand, Fuji, Zambia, Seychelles, Japan, and Cambodia, among others. And having Zambia on the list, even if not in first place, will help both neighbours, giving a double-country safe destination.

Zimbabwe scored 35,48 out of a possible 50 points and Thailand came second with 35,33 points in the travel destination index.

Covid-19 has negatively impacted on global tourism with the industry losing billions in revenue after countries imposed travel restrictions to curtail the spread of infection although a strict testing regime is starting to replace outright bans. Zimbabwe re-opened the airspace earlier this month for international travellers but is yet to open land borders.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority spokesperson Mr Godfrey Koti said the endorsement by the American company is what the country required.

“This further attests that things have really changed in the Second Republic and under the able leadership of our Minister Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Nqobizitha Ndlovu,” he said.

“We have managed to create the right kind of noise in the international sphere. More so, in America who are our highest contributors to arrivals for the past 15 or so years.”

Mr Koti said the positive ratings can only stem from President Mnangagwa’s policy direction and leadership in the way the country has dealt with Covid-19, which resulted in fewer cases being recorded compared to other countries.

ZimParks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said it was not surprising that even international travel agencies were endorsing Zimbabwe, considering the work being done by President Mnangagwa’s administration to create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

“This is a confidence booster for the country.”

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