Tourism set to return to its pre-pandemic levels – UNWTO
BY STAFF REPORTER
After stronger than expected recovery in 2022, this year could see international tourist arrivals return to pre-pandemic levels in Europe and the Middle East.
The United Nations World Tourism (UNWTO) has predicted an increase in tourist arrivals globally following the ease of lockdowns to control the spread of Covid-19.
Based on UNWTO’s forward-looking scenarios for 2023, international tourist arrivals could reach 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels this year
The organisation, however, said that it will depend on the extent of the economic slowdown, the ongoing recovery of travel in Asia and the Pacific and the evolution of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, among other factors.
UNWTO anticipates a strong year for the sector even in the face of diverse challenges, including the economic situation and continued geopolitical uncertainty
According to UNWTO’s data, more than 900 million tourists travelled internationally in 2022 – double the number recorded in 2021, though still 63% of pre-pandemic levels.
It noted that every global region recorded notable increases in international tourist numbers.
“The Middle East enjoyed the strongest relative increase as arrivals climbed to 83% of pre-pandemic numbers,”the report read.
” Europe reached nearly 80% of pre-pandemic levels as it welcomed 585 million arrivals in 2022.
Africa and the Americas both recovered about 65% of their pre-pandemic visitors, while Asia and the Pacific reached only 23% due to stronger pandemic-related restrictions, which have started to be removed only in recent months.”
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said there were high hopes in the tourism sector.
“A new year brings more reason for optimism for global tourism.
” UNWTO anticipates a strong year for the sector even in the face of diverse challenges, including the economic situation and continued geopolitical uncertainty. Economic factors may influence how people travel in 2023, and UNWTO expects demand for domestic and regional travel to remain strong and help drive the sector’s wider recovery.”
Chinese tourists set to return
The first UNWTO World Tourism Barometer of 2023 also analyses performance by region and looks at top performers in 2022, including several destinations that have already recovered 2019 levels.
UNWTO foresees the recovery to continue throughout 2023 even as the sector faces up to economic, health, and geopolitical challenges.
The recent lifting of COVID-19 related travel restrictions in China, the world’s largest outbound market in 2019, is a significant step for the recovery of the tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific and worldwide.
In the short term, the resumption of travel from China is likely to benefit Asian destinations in particular. However, this will be shaped by the availability and cost of air travel, visa regulations, and COVID-19 related restrictions in the destinations.
By mid-January, a total of 32 countries had imposed specific travel restrictions related to travel from China, mostly in Asia and Europe.
At the same time, strong demand from the United States, backed by a strong US dollar, will continue to benefit destinations in the region and beyond. Europe will continue to enjoy strong travel flows from the US, partly due to a weaker euro versus the US dollar.
Notable increases in international tourism receipts have been recorded across most destinations, in several cases higher than their growth in arrivals.
This has been supported by the increase in average spending per trip due to longer periods of stay, the willingness by travelers to spend more in their destination, and higher travel costs due to inflation.
However, the economic situation could translate into tourists adopting a more cautious attitude in 2023, with reduced spending, shorter trips, and travel closer to home.
Furthermore, continued uncertainty caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine and other mounting geopolitical tensions, as well as health challenges related to COVID-19 also represent downside risks and could weigh on tourism’s recovery in the months ahead.
The latest UNWTO Confidence Index shows cautious optimism for January-April, higher than the same period in 2022. This optimism is backed by the opening up in Asia and strong spending numbers in 2022 from both traditional and emerging tourism source markets, with France, Germany and Italy as well as Qatar, India and Saudi Arabia all posting strong results.
Gaseous coal substances exposes Hwange residents to TB
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
In the scorching sun, Litha Ncube and her nine-year-old daughter are armed with hoes and shovels as they make way to a dumpsite to scavenge for a precious by-product of coal, coke.
The poverty-stricken widow from Hwange’s Madumabisa Village says she has no option but to scrounge for the product in a life-threatening environment that has claimed the lives of many. This is her only means of survival.
As she digs the dumpsite without any Personal Protective Clothing (PPE) such as the surgical mask, her daughter’s task is to pick and separate the coke from the chaff and fill a 50-kilogramme sack. This quantity of coke fetches US$5, which she says helps to sustain her family.
Her husband died at the height of Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 after he was diagnosed with Tubercolosis (TB) which he contracted due to inhaling of coal dust at the same dumpsite.
Ncube was also diagnosed and it took her over 12 months to fully recover.
“If I stop, who will support my children?” Ncube quizzes as she continues to dig.
Ncube is among the many women in Hwange who have resorted to trespassing into the Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) dumpsite in search of coke, which they resell to make ends meet.
TB is one of the leading causes of death in Zimbabwe.
According to Community Working Group on Health, about 6 300 Zimbabweans die of TB each year despite it being preventable and curable.
The African region has the second-highest tuberculosis burden worldwide, after Southeast Asia. under the World Health Organisation End Tuberculosis Strategy, countries should aim to reduce TB cases by 80% and cut deaths by 90% by 2030 compared with 2015.
According to National Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe president Kurebwa Javangwe Nomboka, gaseous substances from coal dusts have left many Hwange villagers and residents exposed to TB, although many are not documented.
‘The prevalence of TB is very high, but undocumented in the areas we have done programs which are around the mining community of Hwange,” Nomboka told VicFallsLive.
“Coal is the commonly mined mineral in the area and is well known for its combustible nature and the emission of dangerous poisonous gases.”
Nomboka says apart from residents such as Ncube, the scourge is higher in the mining companies, largely Chinese owned.
He says the mostly affected are underground miners and even those involved in the processing of coal to coking coke.
” Examples of areas with a high risk of TB which my team have visited are HC, Hwange Coal Gasification and South Mining,” he revealed.
“The environment in these mines is heavily embroidered or engulfed with coal dust and gaseous substances which causes a high risk of TB and other related diseases like Pneumoconiosis.”
These heavy dusts and gaseous substances, Nomboka says are also evident in the residential areas and thus posing a risk to the families of miners.
” At Hwange Coal Gasification at times the whole complex is engulfed with gaseous substances to an extent that you won’t even be in a position to see buildings or people around you,”
“Besides the dust and gaseous substances there is immense heat that comes out from the furnaces and the personnel working such under environments are spotted with improper and inadequate PPEs and the issue in these mines has become of lesser priority as it is only acquired when we raise a red flag as a union.”
Nomboka said the PPEs being acquired does not meet the standard required under the Mining industry safety regulations leaving workers vulnerable to contracting TB and other related diseases.
” As a trade union we have reigned in on these defaulting companies to comply with the mining safety regulations and those found not to be in compliance with the regulations have had to be litigated against in order for them to comply,” Nomboka revealed.
“The country needs to adopt stern measures on those who fail to comply with mining safety regulations by enacting laws which provide for hefty fines for companies who fail to provide safety nets for their employees and proper and adequate protective clothing.”
Engage communities in TB planning, Government urged
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
The Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) has called on the government to engage communities in planning and implementing of strong, integrated Tubercolosis (TB) mitigation as part of response measure, amid revelations that over 6 000 Zimbabweans succumb to the pulmonary disease every year.
The call was made by CWGH, a health watch organisation executive director Itai Rusike ahead of the World TB Day commemorations.
Rusike said although there has been some efforts made towards ending TB, a killer disease and highlighting further action that is needed to defeat the life-threatening disease, communities should be part of the action.
“TB remains a major obstacle to attaining the SDG vision of health, development, and prosperity for all in Zimbabwe,”Rusike told VicFallsLive.
“Our country has an estimated 21 000 new cases of TB each year, and 3.1% of these are drug resistant.
” 6300 Zimbabweans die of TB each year despite it being preventable and curable.”
According to health activists, most of these are recorded in mining towns and communities where there is no adequate Personal Protective Equipment.
Rusike also called for more scientific research and funding towards eradication of pulmonary disease including the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Funding for research on TB in Zimbabwe is minimal, and new tools to prevent, diagnose, and treat TB are urgently required,” he said.
“There is an opportunity to leverage Covid-19 infrastructure and investments to improve the TB response, integrate TB and Covid-19 testing and tracing, and strengthen efforts to overcome the barriers that people continue to face when accessing TB services.”
According to studies, the advent of Covid-19, three years ago eliminated 12 years of progress in the Global Fight against TB as governments, due to its response to the pandemic pushed aside TB outreach and services, resulting in a 20% drop in diagnosis and treatment worldwide.
“This World TB Day 2023 (March 24) we emphasize that “Yes! We can end TB” – aims to inspire hope and encourage high-level leadership, increased investments, faster uptake of new World Health Organisation recommendations, adoption of innovation, accelerated action and multisectoral collaboration to combat the TB epidemic,”Rusike said.
“It is time for the government to fulfill its commitments towards defeating TB.
“The government should engage communities in planning and implementing strong, integrated TB and Covid-19 mitigation and response measures.”
In addition, he said, there is need to increase financing for TB prevention and care, innovations in care delivery, and research and development, including for new TB vaccines to prevent the development of Drug Resistant TB.
” The theme brings attention to tuberculosis (TB) and our collective power to end TB by 2030 and therefore reach the SDG goals,” he added.
“It brings hope and builds on the amazing work done in 2022 by Zimbabwe as one of the TB High Burden Countries to recover from the impact of Covid -19 while ensuring access to TB treatment and prevention.
” It is time to take urgent action to get back on track and accelerate collective efforts to fulfill the 2022 United Nations targets on TB to defeat the disease and save lives.
“The commitments made, and targets set by Heads of State and other leaders to accelerate action to end TB must be kept even in Covid-19 crisis and should be backed by adequate investments (and) this will help to protect the lives of thousands of peoplesuffering from TB and to prevent further loss of gains made in the fight against TB.
” Not one more person should die from TB because it is a preventable and treatable disease.”
‘Neglect and failure ‘crippling local authorities, Mnangagwa
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
Neglect and failure by the majority of local authorities is crippling the service delivery and the country’s goal to be an upper middle class by 2030, president Emmerson Mnangagwa has lamented.
Mnangagwa said this on Thursday at a programme for the announcement of the 2022 performance evaluation results and signing of perfomance contracts for senior public officials for Fiscal year 2023 at the State House.
Present were Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Executive Officers for Parastatals and Local Authorities, Vice Chancellors of State Universities among other senior civil servants signing their 2023 performance contracts.
“Performance of local authorities as outlined in the assessment report remains worrisome and a huge drawback in our march towards Vision 2030,” Mnangagwa was quoted saying by the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting.
“While devolution funds have gone a long way in accelerating infrastructure development,neglect and failure by majority of local authorities to focus on their core mandate of service delivery is unacceptable.”
No local authority won the best performance award.
97 out of 101 Public Entities spread on 21 ministries were evaluated and nine exceeded set target, 47 percent met set target, 30 percent were within allowable variance and four percent below set target and below allowable variance.
Best performer award was given to the viice chancellor of Harare Institute of Technology.
At least 20 permanent secretaries were evaluated and one exceeded set target, 15 met set target and four were below set target but within allowable variance.
Overall best performer was John Bhasera in the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.
For the cabinet ministers, 19 out of 21 ministers were evaluated and two ministers exceeded set target, 15 met set target and two were below set target but within allowable variance.
Best performer award was given to Anxious Masuka from Bhasera’s ministry.
Runner up award went to Fredrick Shava who is the minister of Foreign Affairs.
Slider5 months ago
Innscor launches brewery to produce Nyathi beer
News1 year ago
Victoria Falls bartender gored to death by elephant
News2 months ago
Commission of inquiry findings fail to be tabled as Victoria Falls councillors fight
News2 years ago
Mugabe’s remains should be reburied at Harare monument, court rules
Tourism and Environment1 year ago
Strive Masiyiwa’s daughter opens luxury Victoria Falls lodge
Slider3 months ago
How a flip-flop cost the life of a tour guide:USA tourist narrates the Victoria Falls elephant attack
News2 years ago
In perched rural Matabeleland North, renewable energy is vital
Slider3 months ago
Aston Villa coach Unai Emery hints at potential January departures