Zimbabwe sees record rise in tourists

The rise comes after a sharp dip in the early 1990s when Zimbabwe received a very bad press during the initial stages of land reform, although no tourist was harmed during this reform and good bargains were available to those who did come.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism congress, ZTA chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke, said arrivals increased from 1 104 368 in the first nine months of 2005 to 1 596 364 for the same period this year.

“The first nine months of 2006 have already surpassed the total number of arrivals of 2005 and, if this is anything to go by, the decline is coming to an end,” he said.

“We now have to make sure that we do not experience a decline in 2007.”

He said tourist arrivals from Africa increased by 52 percent, Germany by 70 percent, Middle East (160 percent) China (30 percent) and other Asian countries by 30 percent.

Kaseke said arrivals from Europe had declined by 20 percent, United Kingdom and Ireland by 57 percent and those from the Americas by nine percent.

The ZTA chief executive said there had been a decrease in room and bed occupancies due to the erosion of spending power for the domestic market.

Kaseke said they were unhappy with the time it was taking Cabinet to approve the tourism policy, adding the tourism master plan would be ready by March 2007.

He said they had set targets for trade attaches to bring in a certain number of tourists from the base countries and if they failed, they would be redeployed or be dismissed from their posts.

The authority, he said, had hosted 67 opinion leaders and travel writers from countries that include Malaysia, Indonesia, France, China and the United Kingdom.

The two day congress is being held under the theme “Mapping the Future”.

The tourism industry contributes six percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 10 percent of the total foreign currency earnings in the country. ‘ New Ziana

October 2006
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