Zim ranks among best in African safaris
Zimbabwe is now the second most preferred destination on the continent for family-oriented safaris after South Africa, a recent international study has shown.
According to a report released by global research firm, Euromonitor International, South Africa remains the main destination for the family-oriented safaris. This is because the southern part of the country is free from malaria. Other countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia are also coming up with the child-friendly options.
The report identifies Zimbabwe as the second top destination for safari travellers in 2012, followed by Botswana. Euromonitor International noted that tourism in Africa was now shifting from the dependency on the traditional markets of US and Europe. “There has been a significant increase in the number of tourists coming from the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and (also) the Middle East,” reads part of the report.
In a related matter, Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority says nearly 17 000 tourists, a third of them international visitors visited the famed Victoria Falls Rainforest during the festive season, earning US$270 000 in fees.
Statistics from the authority showed that of the 16 573 tourists who paid to explore the rainforest in the 10 days to January 2 this year, just over 5 000 were from outside Africa.
In terms of earnings, the international visitors spent US$147 510 at the rainforest while tourists from regional countries paid US$75 410 while earnings from locals, who pay less than their foreign counterparts, stood at US$49 709.
There were no comparative figures available, but tourism executives told The Source that the just ended festive season was among the best for the industry.
The rainforest had an average 542 daily visitors in 2012, according to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority statistics, compared to nearly 1 700 daily visitors over the peak 2013 Christmas season. A total of 198 000 toured the rainforest in 2012, according to the ZTA.
“The festive season was made of two halves- the Christmas period had more locals while the New Year period had more of regional and international tourists. All these helped in raising arrivals into this destination,” said Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe official, Jonathan Hudson.
Tourism executive Clement Mukwasi said the rise in tourists could be attributed to the global exposure generated by Zimbabwe’s co-hosting of the 20th United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly with Zambia.
“I think we are seeing some rebound as a result from the (hosting). This can help the sector recover in 2014,” Mukwasi said.
Tourism expanded by 3.4 percent last year, but is seen by growing by 15 percent by 2015. Zimbabwe earned US$749 million from tourism in 2012, a 13 percent increase on the 2011 figure of US$664 million.