The United States has just issued a terse travel warning to its citizens not to visit the southern African country at the very time some 343 Chinese tourists have just landed into the country.
The travel warning, which some say is highly political and may be an excuse for Washington to fund planned protests, urges US citizens to “exercise increased caution in Zimbabwe due to crime and civil unrest.”
“Violent crime, such as assault, carjacking, and home invasion, is common. Smashing the windows of cars with the intent to steal, which can harm the driver or passengers, is also common,” it says.
“Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents………
“If you decide to travel to Zimbabwe:
- Stay alert and avoid openly displaying cash.
- Carry a copy of your passport and visa and leave originals in your hotel safe.
- Stay away from political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds.
- Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
- Keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Zimbabwe.
- S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.”
According to Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Tourism, the Chinese see a completely different picture.
In 2016 only 5 000 Chinese visited Zimbabwe. The number shot up to 19 000 last year. Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira expects the number to double this year and to reach 100 000 a year by 2025.
According to the Herald, the United States, which renewed its sanctions on Zimbabwe which have been in force since 2003 by another year, seems to have another agenda. It wants to scare investors which Zimbabwe badly needs and to sponsor unrest which the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has threatened to unleash after its congress next week.
The paper says statistics actually show that there is more crime in the United States than in Zimbabwe.
“If anything, Americans are safer in Zimbabwe than they are in their own country. The US is number one in terms of crime in the world. The travel advisory by the US has nothing to do with crime and safety. It has everything to do with politics and US foreign policy against Zimbabwe,” the paper says.