Twenty one players in the tourism industry recently had their passports withheld by the German embassy in Harare after the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority failed to pay $47 000 to a tourism organiser based in Berlin.
Government, ZTA officials and other tourism players are expected to attend the ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) that will run from 7-12 March. The officials are led by Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira. ZTA chief executive officer, Mr Karikoga Kaseke, said the passports were withheld after the authority failed the organisers.
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“It is true that passports belonging to 21 tourism operators were withheld by the German Embassy. This was done because we had delayed in paying the organisers of the ITB expo and they in turn had asked their embassy in Zimbabwe to withhold the passports until we paid.
“The operators only got their passports on Thursday last week after we paid,” Mr Kaseke said.
He said ZTA was facing financial problems as Government has not released funds to capacitate its programmes. Mr Kaseke said the prevailing challenges have seen ZTA failing to pay some of its employees on time.
“The ZTA failed to pay on time because the Government has not released funds to us although we submitted our budget for the year,” he said.
“This is despite the fact that there’s an agreement between us and the Finance Ministry on certain events that we must attend. They funded us for these shows last year. Honestly speaking we’re taken aback by these delays.”
Mr Kaseke said ZTA has engaged Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) who promised to engage relevant authorities over their financial shortcomings.
He said the ZTA was being hamstrung in its efforts to fulfil its mandate of selling destination Zimbabwe due delays in allocation of funds. The ZTA has already attended the Fitur exhibition in Spain before the Meetings Africa expo in South Africa while another expo has just kicked off in London and all have been serviced by the ZTA without funding from Government.- state media