South African business travellers to Zimbabwe should carry small denomination notes as they will receive change in bond notes which cannot be used outside Zimbabwe or converted back into hard currency.
Travel management company Corporate Traveller issued the advisory following Zimbabwe’s introduction of the bond note in response to a shortage of hard currency in the country.
Corporate Traveller visitors to the country who pay for activities, meals in restaurants or items in curio shops in dollars, euros or pounds may not be issued with change in cash, but given bond notes which can only be used in Zimbabwe.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced bond notes on 28 November last year, to mitigate foreign exchange malpractices, such as hoarding of US dollars. It was reported that within five days of $17 million worth of bond notes being released, banks ran out. The Zimbabwean government issued a further $12 million bond notes in mid-December.
“It is unclear what effect the bond notes have on South African business travellers, but we nevertheless would advise that business travellers order and carry the smallest denomination of notes they can to avoid receiving a substantial amount of change in bond notes.
“Business travellers should also consider using bill backs to avoid the need to carry a large amount of cash. Billbacks will allow them for all hotel extras to be billed to the room account. We would also advise that travellers take meals in the hotel they are staying at where possible and pre-book all extras such as transfers and car rental before travelling,” says Raylene Pienaar, the General Manager for Corporate Traveller.