Zimbabwe has relaxed visa requirements for Chinese nationals allowing them to get visas on arrival in a bid to grow arrivals from the Asian giant.
Before the relaxation, China was in category C which means that its nationals had to first obtain visas before travelling to Zimbabwe.
Only nationals from countries in category A do not require visas to travel to Zimbabwe. The relaxation of the visa regime for the Chinese follows a push by the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry to grow arrivals from Asia.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi said last week that his ministry will continue pushing for relaxation of visas to boost arrivals.
“Chinese will now get visas upon arrival,” he said in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy Anastancia Ndlovu.
China has been Zimbabwe’s “all weather friend” since the country looked east more than a decade ago.
Arrivals from the Asian giant have been rising and grew by 46% in the six months to June 30. Arrivals from China/Hong Kong were 3 973 from 2 730.
In the 2015 First Half Tourism Statistics Overview report, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said 81% of the Chinese arrivals entered through Harare International Airport, followed by Victoria Falls border (6%), Victoria Falls airport (5%) and Kazungula (3%).
It said no single Chinese entered through Beitbridge border post.
“Further investigations also revealed that the bulk of the Chinese coming through the Harare International Airport is for business purposes. It is important to note that cumbersome visa procedures have been the major inhibiting factor for the growth of this market in Zimbabwe,” ZTA said.
“Steps are already under way to improve the Visa regime so as to attract more from this global outbound giant.”
Mzembi’s ministry is pushing for visa relaxation and opening of the skies to get more arrivals in an ambitious bid to grow tourism into a $5 billion sector by 2020. Currently tourism is raking in just under $1 billion.
Source : Newsday
3 November 2015