Tourism rakes in US$400m in 6 months

Tanyaradzwa Rusike

ZIMBABWE is reclaiming its status as a destination of choice, especially after the Covid-19-induced slump, as tourist arrivals rose by 50 percent to 529 078 in the first six months of the year, while receipts rose by 16 percent to US$397,7 million from the comparable period last year.

The Government now expects revenues to rise above the record US$1,38 billion realised in 2018.

According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), investments in the sector also doubled to US$96,5 million.

Overall, hotel occupancy improved to 41 percent in the same period from 39 percent a year ago.

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu attributed the positive performance to various marketing initiatives currently underway.

“Generally, our tourism sector has been good owing to a number of sectors that have been contributing to the continued growth.

“Business tourism has been growing; the country has hosted a number of business conferences and there has been an increased number of airlines,” he said.

“We are also in an election season, and this has boosted our numbers due to observers and media people who are coming into the country.

“Our players in the tourism sector are doing a lot to make sure they offer quality services. We have also set up a revolving fund that will assist them in their business.”

According to a list recently compiled by a British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, Zimbabwe is the global tourist destination that soared the most in popularity since 2019.

The country was ranked above other popular tourist destinations such as Egypt, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

In the regional category, Zimbabwe was ranked seventh in Africa after South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia. Zimbabwe is endowed with both natural and man-made attractions.

Among them are the Victoria Falls, which is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Matobo Hills and the Great Zimbabwe monument. Minister Ndlovu said the positive performance in the January-June period would translate to significant growth by year-end.

“A lot is being done to market our tourist destinations.

“We have been having meetings across the world. Recently, we were in Durban and the UAE, where we were marketing our brand, and I am sure this has contributed to the growth.

“With all the combined efforts, I am confident to say the country is going to surpass the 2018 record of tourism receipts,” he said.

In 2018, the country recorded 2,6 million tourist arrivals and grossed close to US$1,4 billion.

Minister Ndlovu commended President Mnangagwa for his continued support in marketing Brand Zimbabwe.

“The President himself has been doing a lot to market our tourist destinations whenever he goes out of the country, and this has also contributed significantly to the growth,” he said.

In 2020, Government launched the National Tourism and Recovery Strategy, which seeks to achieve a US$5 billion tourism economy by 2025.

“We are on course to achieve this through a hybrid of measures we are currently implementing,” added Minister Ndlovu.

The country’s tourism sector, like most across the globe, is recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit in 2020.

Official data shows that Zimbabwe’s tourism receipts for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 were US$1,38 billion, US$1,2 billion, US$360 million and US$397 million, respectively.

A recovery is, however, currently underway after the World Health Organisation recently announced that Covid-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency.

Last year, the sector earned US$1 billion.

source:Tourism rakes in US$400m in 6 months | Sunday Mail

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