Safari operators project 30% growth

SAFARI Operators Association of Zimbabwe have projected a 30% growth in revenue in 2018 on the back of the lift on the ivory ban by the United States and the policy thrust of the new government, businessdigest has learnt.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced a suspension on imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies taken in Tanzania and Zimbabwe during the calendar 2014 year.

“In Zimbabwe, available data, though limited, indicates a significant decline in the elephant population. Anecdotal evidence, such as the widely publicised poisoning last year of 300 elephants in Hwange National Park, suggests that Zimbabwe’s elephants are also under siege,” the organisation said when it imposed the ban.

Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (Soaz) chairman Emmanuel Fundira told businessdigest that the US rescinded the decision after prolonged negotiations to have the ban overturned.

“The United States recently announced that it has received sufficient and convincing information from Zimbabwe to overturn the ban,” Fundira said.

“The ban was lifted retrospectively from of January 1 2016 to 2019. This will allow the country ”
Fundira said since the ivory ban in 2014, Soaz has been on an aggressive drive to find alternative markets to make for the loss in revenue caused by the US ban.

“We have recovered the 15-20% market share we had lost through the ban by growing our alternative markets particularly in central Europe and Russia,” Fundira said.

He said the resumption of the ivory trade and the new policy thrust by government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced former president Robert Mugabe last month, would boost the sector’s revenue by 30%.

The Mnangagwa regime has announced a cocktail of measures, which include whittling down the indigenisation laws to cover only the platinum and diamond sectors, in a bid to lure the much-needed investment.

“The 10% of our projection is based on the new dispensation, whose policy measures will attract investment,” Fundira said.

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