Travelling to Zim? Take loads of cash

File picture: Elise Amendola

File picture: Elise Amendola

Published Jun 9, 2016


Harare - The British government on Wednesday warned its citizens who intend to travel to Zimbabwe to carry enough money due to acute cash shortages being experienced in the southern African nation.

“You should make sure you have sufficient funds in US dollar notes for your visit or check with your tour operator that card payments will be accepted,” said an updated travel advisory issued by the British embassy in Harare.

Zimbabwe, which does not have its own currency since 2009, has been hit by the shortage of its main circulation currency - the US dollar since March, prompting authorities to limit bank withdrawals.

Currently, banks are limiting allowing withdrawals of between 100-300 US dollars per day, but customers may have to queue for hours to get cash.

The use of credit cards, travellers' cheques, and other payments, on the other hand, is not all the time guaranteed, as Zimbabwe remains a “cash-based” economy.

The British government said while credit and debit cards were increasing in circulation, British citizens needed to check in advance if a restaurant or hotel would accept them, especially outside of the capital Harare.

The warning on cash shortages comes at a time when the tourism sector has signaled that the cash crunch was beginning to impact negatively on the sector that counts Britain as one of the country's major tourist source markets.

“Right now people can't access their cash. If people cannot access money then it affects tourism in that they cannot even use the money to go for holidays,” Zimbabwe Council for Tourism President Paul Matamisa was quoted as saying in the local media.

Last week, a leading safari company in the country advised foreign tourists to bring cash with them in the wake of the cash shortages.

“With the recent cash shortage in the country and the possible introduction of bond notes, our guests are advised to travel with cash in small denominations so as to avoid disappointment and unnecessary headaches,” said Amalinda Collection, which runs some luxury lodges in Matabeleland region.

Zimbabwe is endowed with rich tourist resources, not least than the Victoria Falls which it shares with Zambia.

The 1.7km long waterfalls is one of the world's most grandiose waterfalls, on a par with the Niagara Falls on the borders of the United States and Canada.

However, the tourist arrival to Zimbabwe remained low in recent years, receiving merely 1 million tourists annually, due to poor air links, bad publicity, inadequate tourism infrastructure, and etc.


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