Zim Records 56% Increase in Tourist Arrivals
Zimbabwe recorded a 56% increase in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last largely due to renewed confidence by tourists, a move attributed to the new political dispensation, a cabinet minister has said.
Speaking at a Minister’s networking cocktail at the Arabian Travel Market, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industries, Prisca Mupfumira said the new political dispensation had breathed a new lease of life into the tourism industry as evidenced by the swelling in of tourist arrivals since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over the reigns in November 2017.
“The government of His Excellency E D Mnangagwa is aggressively re-engaging the world to restore not only the badly damaged economy but the lost confidence and image of a once upon vibrant nation.
“The tourism sector continues to witness increased growth, as indicated by tourist arrivals and flight frequency of new airlines that land in both Harare and at the newly expanded Victoria Falls International Airport. Zimbabwe received a total of 2 422 930 tourist arrivals in 2017, which is a 12% increase from 2 167 686 received in 2016.
“The response to the clarion call by our President has been very positive from a tourism perspective. The immediate increase in tourist arrivals bears testimony to this for example when we compare arrivals of December 2016 to those of 2017 there is a 48% increase. When we again compare tourist arrivals of the first quarter of 2017 to that of 2018 there is a 56% increase. This upward trend is projected to continue,” said Mupfumira.
She, however, noted that arrivals from this market have been very low compared to arrivals into South Africa.
South Africa last year received 55 906 tourists while Zimbabwe received only 7 537 from the Middle East market.
“I have directed the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority which is responsible for our destination marketing to do everything possible in this market so that we increase our arrivals from a low of 7 537 to 30 000 from this Middle East market by 2020,” she noted.
Mupfumira urged Zimbabweans in the diaspora to invest back home and encouraged the international community to make Zimbabwe a destination of choice.