There is a need for the government to walk the talk by eradicating the red tape on requirements needed for Zimbabwean youths to venture into the tourism sector, an official has said.
Addressing the third edition of the Africa Youth in Tourism Conference in Bulawayo, Friday, Zimbabwe Youth in Tourism director general Steward Mutizwa, bemoaned the challenges faced by young people who wish to venture into the lucrative industry.
The three-day conference (October 10-12) runs under the theme, “Changing Africa’s Future by accelerating Investment Capacity in Youth for Sustainable Tourism development” and was also attended by youths from neighboring Zambia and Botswana.
Mutizwa said a huge gap exists between policy promises by the government and the actual implementation.
“The government needs to scrap off numerous requirements needed for one to venture into the tourism sector. Most of these requirements are far beyond the reach of many youths. Most of our local youths do not have start-up capital. They lack financial data and this hinders them from pursuing their zeal to penetrate the industry,” said Mutizwa.
“There is also the need to capacitate youths who are already in the sector with managerial and financial leadership skills We implore the government and relevant stakeholders to waiver some of these highly pegged requirements in order to improve the inclusion of young people into tourism. We also call upon financial institutions to relax their access to capital so that young people are not financially excluded.”
Mutizwa urged the youths not to despair but to grab opportunities as and when they arise within various sectors of the tourism value chain.
“We will continue to lobby financial institutions to at least relax their terms to create access to capital. Most importantly we need them to avail financial data and to highlight success stories of youths in tourism across the globe. This will inspire the much needed confidence to encourage youth participation. We hope stakeholders and policymakers will priorities youth participation not only in policy documents but also in the implementation of their policy promises,” he said.
Acting Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu outlined the importance of empowering youths in tourism, describing them as key economic players in the development of the industry in the African continent.
He said Africa has developed Agenda 2063 whose pillar underpinning vision is to empower youths as active economic players.
“Youths make up about 65% of our continent’s population hence have a critical role to play in its development. The African youths’ chapter, as adopted by the African Union, speaks to the need to engender youth participation and involvement in the development of the economy. Tourism sector is identified as one of the low hanging fruits ton pursue for economic development, with relatively low entry barriers and good returns can be realised within a reasonably short space of time,” said the minister.