Panafrican News Agency

Zimbabwe says foreign tourists won't be affected by recent monetary changes

Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has assured foreign tourists that they will not be affected by the recently promulgated Statutory Instrument (SI) 142 of 2019 and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Exchange Control Directive RU102 of 2019.

This comes as Zimbabwe’s top five arrivals from overseas markets are from the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland, Germany, South Korea, and Japan.

“The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority would like to assure all visitors to Zimbabwe that the recently promulgated Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Legal Tender) Regulations, 2019 will not negatively affect the travelling public, specifically foreign visitors,” ZTA said in a statement on Thursday.

“The regulations are meant for any transactions carried out within Zimbabwe, where it is now illegal to use foreign cash. The legal tender shall be the Zimbabwe Dollar in both cash and electronic format.”

On Monday, SI 142 of 2019 was promulgated and it banned the use of foreign currencies while RBZ Exchange Control Directive RU102 of 2019 gave direction on how banks will implement the piece of legislation.

Currencies that were banned are the US dollar, British pound, South African rand, Euro, Botswana pula, Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, Australian dollar and Indian Rupee under the abandoned multi-currency basket.

As such, most of the overseas market use the now banned foreign currencies.

“The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has it from authoritative sources that reports circulating in certain sections of the social media purporting that police are authorised to stop and search people for foreign currency are untrue and should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve,” ZTA said.

ZTA said foreign arrivals can use credit cards; withdraw local cash from international credit card enabled automated teller machines; exchange foreign currency at the bank, bureau-de-change or any other authorised foreign currency dealers; and make online payments and telegraphic transfers.

“Visa fees where applicable are payable in foreign currency and may be paid in cash at any port of entry. The Government of Zimbabwe has an e-visa system and intending travellers may apply and pay for their visas online,” ZTA said.

“Tipping is not a commercial transaction and hence visitors are at liberty to tip the way they want. It becomes incumbent upon the recipient to ensure adherence to the foreign exchange regulations.”

In 2018, ZTA recorded 95,025 visitors from United States visiting Zimbabwe, UK and Ireland (72,029), Germany (39,934), South Korea (33,759) and Japan (32,014).

Over the years, the USA has remained the biggest overseas market despite arrivals having fallen by one percent last year and the United Kingdom usually follows in second place.

The overall performance for Zimbabwe’s tourism sector last year, in terms of the overseas market rose by nine percent to 515,440 from 474,421 in 2017. 

In that regard, the statement from ZTA comes as tourism has grown to become a US$1 billion forex earner towards the annual foreign currency receipts.

Zimbabwe recorded nearly 2.6 million international tourist arrivals in 2018, 6 percent up from 2.4 million received in 2017. In 2018, at least 80 percent of tourists received in Zimbabwe came from Africa while the Middle East had the least visitors at just one percent.

-0- PANA TZ/AR 27June2019