SAFARI Operators Association of Zimbabwe (Soaz) has registered a 5% growth in revenue in the first quarter of 2018 on the back of improved country perception and lifting of the ivory ban, businessdigest has learnt.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
This is a turnaround from the 20% loss in revenue during the same period last year owing largely to the ivory ban by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The US-based organisation announced a suspension on imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies taken in Tanzania and Zimbabwe in 2014.
“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.
“We have registered 5% growth in the first quarter of this year,” Soaz chairman Emmanuel Fundira told businessdigest on Wednesday. “We are encouraged by the growth during this period and we are confident that we can exceed the 30% growth we have projected for this year.”
He said the re-engagement exercise by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has helped to significantly reduce the country’s negative perception which has resulted in the country being isolated.
“We have started the year well due to the initiatives on the political landscape. This has propelled our acceptance in the international community and has opened up a window of opportunity for our sector,” Fundira said.
He said the focus for the sector is on issues such as pricing and setting up systems which are investor friendly.