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UK travel reshuffle, boost for Zimbabwe tourism

By Nyasha Chuma

Destination Zimbabwe has been removed from the UK’s COVID-19 Red List, effective from 4am on 11 October.

Zimbabwe is among a total of 47 of the 54-strong list now categorized up to the “rest of world” list.

UK’s red list classification had put the destination in a disadvantaged position as the United Kingdom is one of Zimbabwe’s major source tourism markets.

Being on the red list enforces strict travel regulations and means people arriving in the UK from Zimbabwe must quarantine for ten days in a government-designated hotel near the airport, at their own cost of more than £2 000.

Announcing the update on Twitter on Friday, UK transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that the 47 recategorised countries will be moved to Britain’s “rest of the world” list.

“I’m also making changes so travellers visiting England have fewer entry requirements, by recognising those with fully-vax status from 37 new countries and territories including India, Turkey and Ghana, treating them the same as UK fully vax passengers,” Shapps said

ZTA spokesperson Godfrey Koti said with Northern Hemisphere tourists seeking sunny destinations, the UK’s travel red list, had become a thorn is the local tourism industry’s side.

“The announcement that destination Zimbabwe will be removed from the red list is incredibly exciting and the sector is fully prepared to help travellers get back to this beautiful tourism destination,” Koti said.

He said this was a welcome development for the tourism sector in it’s generality. “To us as the tourism sector, the announcement brings hope for recovery of the sector,” he said.

“This is an acknowledgement of our government’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccination programme has been a resounding success. We are looking forward to an increased traffic flow into the destination. We’re expecting to see the resumption of flights into destination Zimbabwe,” he added.