ZTA chief trapped by travel ban

HARARE - Britain last week denied a visa to one of President Robert Mugabe's cronies because he was on the EU sanctions list.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke was denied a visa to attend the World Travel Market Exhibition that opens in the UK next week, British Embassy o

fficials in Harare confirmed.
“Yes he was refused a visa to travel to the UK. We have our reasons and the embassy reserves the right to exercise its discretion,” a British Embassy official said, adding it was done under the auspices of a European Union travel ban preventing Zimbabwe’s ruling elite entering Europe.
President Robert Mugabe’s government – already furious at its former colonial ruler for leading international opposition to his policies – accused Britain of sabotaging the country’s tourism industry and hinted at retaliatory measures.
The expo, that is held annually, “provides an opportunity for the global travel trade industry to meet, network, negotiate, conduct business and stay abreast with the latest trends in the travel industry.”
The incident was sure to further inflame tensions between the governments of Mugabe and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“This is a clear example of sabotage. They do not want to see this country’s tourism industry flourishing. We will also take our own measures against these people,” deputy Information minister Bright Matonga said.
Earlier this year, the EU added more names, including Kaseke’s, to an original travel ban list comprising government officials and their wives.
Kaseke, who was expected to lead a delegation comprising tour operators and hoteliers, claimed he had not realised he was included in the ban.
“I had read that some senior party officials would be affected. I didn’t think that would include me,” he told The Zimbabwean. He said his role was within the tourism policy-making portfolio and he was not in a senior government position.

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