Tour OperatorsSocial media channels wiped to control anti-government protests.

This country turned off the Internet – and tourism

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Zimbabwe turned off social media channels to curb criticism of the national government. Photo Credit: BrianAJackson/GettyImages
Zimbabwe has been rocked by the January 15 decision of President Emmerson Mgnangagwa to shut down social media platforms in the African country, initially targeting WhatsApp and Facebook, followed by Twitter.

Many people also reported a total loss on Internet connectivity for 24 hours, which had an impact on most commercial operations, including tourism. 

Local media indicated the Internet-ban was a government response to social media anger at the government’s decision to lift fuel prices for locals by 150%, a decision that brought protestors onto the streets of capital city Harare.

Without Internet, the country’s travel industry struggled with online bookings and payments and to answer email enquiries.

Gavin Rennie, director of Off2Africa, told local media, that the shutdown was “really bad for [tourism] business” as travel companies couldn’t communicate with agents abroad; advise potential customers on destinations, accommodation, tours and packages; or quote on and confirm bookings.

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