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Zimbabwe tourism sector engage police over number of roadblocks

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Tourism promotion authorities in Zimbabwe have engaged the police over the high number of roadblocks which have been condemned by both local and foreign tourists.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke told official news agency New Ziana 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.

"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 organization 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.

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

Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo said last weekend 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.

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.

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.


Group of 13 mourners die in Zimbabwe omnibus accident

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Thirteen people died and four others were seriously injured Wednesday night when a commuter omnibus they were travelling in collided head-on with a South African registered haulage truck in a highway in southwest Zimbabwe, Police confirmed in a statement Thursday.

The statement said 13 people in the minibus died on the spot.

The minibus was traveling to Masvingo in southern Zimbabwe with the mourners and a corpse.

"On approaching the said spot, the haulage truck hit a pothole and the driver lost control of the vehicle.

He then encroached onto the lane of the oncoming vehicle, resulting in a head on collision with the commuter omnibus," police spokesperson Charity Charamba was quoted as saying by state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

The police appealed to motorists to avoid travelling at night and to observe speed limits.

Most of Zimbabwe’s roads are in a deplorable state due to years of neglect.

The heavy rains pounding the country since January have also worsened the condition of the roads, with many now littered with potholes.

Government last month declared the capital Harare’s roads a state of disaster and said it is seeking 100 million U.S. dollars for emergency road repairs after floods damaged bridges and some of the roads particularly in the southern part of the country.



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