Things are looking up for the tourism industry in Zimbabwe largely thanks to South Africa – which accounts for the largest number of continental visitors to Zimbabwe – according to a new report released by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
According to the report, 37,294 South Africans visited Zimbabwe during the first quarter in 2013 – a 6% increase on the previous comparative period – and which can be attributed to resurgence in strong trade ties between the two countries. Trade between Zimbabwe and South Africa amounted to about $5.9 billion in 2012, with South Africa being the country’s biggest trade partner, according to Zimbabwean government statistics. Other regional countries that recorded increases in the number of visitors to Zimbabwe include Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi – Africa as a whole contributing 86% of the arrivals, followed by 8% from Europe, 3% from Asia and 3% from the Americas.
Tourist arrivals from China grew by an impressive 165% which is “especially commendable considering it is currently the world’s top tourism outbound and spending market” according to the report. The UK dominated other European markets with arrivals almost doubling from 24% in 2012 to 41% this year which proves the ZTA’s observation in the report that “despite the ongoing economic challenges especially in the western world, performance of the overseas market is quite positive“.
|Fast facts about Zimbabwe’s tourism:|
|Number of South Africans visited Zimbabwe during the first quarter of 2013||37 294|
|Compared to previous comparative year||Increase of 6%|
|Other regions that recorded increases in 2012||Africa 86%Europe 8%Asia 3%Americas 3%|
|Chinese tourist arrivals into Zimbabwe||Grown by 165%|
|2012 tourism receipts in Zimbabwe||US$30 million|
It seems the Hilton Hotel Group has chosen a great time to announce that construction work on a Hilton hotel is due to begin in October this year. The $160 million, 275-bed hotel and office complex will go up in the neighborhood of Eastlea and construction is set to be completed by 2016 according to the state-owned Herald newspaper. Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi told the paper that “as a city we are very excited that such a brand is coming to Zimbabwe” and it definitely does seem to a promising step in the right direction for the tourism industry which took a knock in 2000 when the government embarked on a violent land reform programme that displaced more than 4,000 white farmers.
Last year, ZTA reported a $30 million dollar increase in tourism receipts from 2010 to 2011 and this only looks to improve in 2013 in response to the recently released tourist statistics – offering a much needed glimmer of hope for the country.
By: Megan Hutchison
Date: 27 June 2013