Zimbabwe will finally be removed from the United Kingdom’s restrictive red list which has prohibited travel between the two countries since May.
The delisting will come into effect on Monday 11 October, the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, announced on Thursday evening.
When COVID-19 hit Africa’s shores – after having forced most countries overseas to close borders for outbound international travel – the continent’s tourism industry felt the impact almost immediately. According to an African Union research report earlier this year, “Under the average (realistic) scenario, the tourism and travel sectors in Africa could lose at least $50 billion… and at least two million direct and indirect jobs”.
That’s why, at the beginning of the pandemic, there was an urgent call from tour operators and lodges for people to postpone or defer, rather than cancel their holidays in Africa as a whole and Zimbabwe more specifically. This call continues today, along with encouragement for people to choose their next holiday in a country like Zimbabwe that depends so heavily on the income brought in by visitors.
Who needs your support?
When we talk about the country of Zimbabwe, we mean the local people and businesses that, while continuing to struggle, are using their energy and enthusiasm to rebuild livelihoods and help each other. We work daily with the communities around Zimbabwe to support them in the ways they need.
Of equal importance in Zimbabwe are the animals and the wilderness habitats they call home. This vacuum of travel into the country has cut off essential funding for wildlife conservation, anti-poaching programmes and environmental management, which has the potential to undo decades of hard work in these areas. Not only does nature stand to be negatively affected, those that protect it and its wild residents are also without sustained work, which means they are unable to feed their families.
What are we doing to help?
Through projects that existed before Covid-19 and those that have arisen in response to the pandemic, to work towards sustaining, building and empowering those they share their ‘neighborhoods’ with. These initiatives span three areas sustainable African wildlife conservation, community livelihood improvement, and people’s ability to deal with the virus in terms of prevention, hygiene and safety, and employment.
The COVID Kindness projects try to ‘reverse’ some of the enormous consequences of the virus. An inspiring way this continues to be done is through keeping up employment for as long as possible, whilst using team members to create positive change in their communities in the absence of tourists.
How can you support through travel?
Now, with Zimbabwe’s borders open and people beginning to think about potentially traveling next year, there is great hope that as project resources begin to run dry, visitors like you will be able to support by staying at lodges and safari camps that direct funds to these projects. By choosing a destination that benefits from you traveling there, your experience is transformative not only for you but also for those you engage with and give back to along the way.