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Tourism authorities engage police over high number of roadblocks

Zimbabwe received 2.1 million visitors in 2015 and is targeting to reach 5 million visitors, bringing in 5 billion dollars in tourism revenue by 2020.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke told newsmen that the roadblocks had become an obstruction to the tourism industry hence the need to discuss the issue with the police.

“Roadblocks are among things that affect Zimbabwe’s image from a tourism perspective.

“We are currently engaging the police over the issue.

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“The tourism industry knows about the meetings and the efforts we are trying to put in resolving this issue of roadblocks,’’ he said.

Kaseke said his organisation had had several meetings with the police over the issue and that the response had been positive.

“We are now just waiting to see their words turn into real action,’’ he added.

A recent survey by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency cited harassment by police at roadblocks as one of the factors that were contributing to the country being perceived as an unattractive tourist destination.

Even locals have been complaining about the roadblocks where motorists could encounter as many as 10 between Harare and Mutare, a distance of about 260 km.

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However, police have defended the high number of roadblocks, saying that they were for security reasons and served to reduce road carnage.

Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo said that the police had set up an electronic traffic management system that would assist in curtailing traffic offences and result in the reduction of roadblocks.

Report say tourism has emerged as one of the most important and fastest growing economic sectors globally as it stimulates new economic activities which also impact positively on employment, gross income and production.

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