Story by Stanley James, Business Editor
Government’s turnaround strategy in the tourism industry is achieving the desired results in the wake of revelations that global tourist arrivals have gone up by more than 170 per cent in just a year.
Zimbabwe’s tourism recovery comes after the industry was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, local and global shocks,
With global tourist arrivals having gone up by more than 100 per cent, the Second Republic has been vindicated for coming up with a sound recovery strategy.
Although international tourist arrivals still lag behind the pre-COVID-19 levels, it is edging towards half of the 2019 level of more than two million.
“The 100 per cent retention scheme for the tourism sector did contribute meaningfully to the recovery rate, while the re-engagement drive has further added a positive impetus, while stability policies are restoring confidence,” said Tourism Business Development Council of Zimbabwe President, Mr Vengai Nhau.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Second Vice President, Mrs Emma Kativu noted, “An increase in Government functions has increased room occupancy and activities, while the aggressive marketing and domestic tourism initiative is creating more business, furthermore the reopening of new projects, refurbishment of facilities, modernisation of ports of entries including the slashing of duty on selected capital goods has also positively impacted us.”
Regulatory authorities are now focusing on growth.
“The recovery is really exciting us taking into account the challenges the sector had experienced therefore it is that time when the focus should be on growth to sustain business activities while ensuring that the sector benefits from government policies,” noted Zimbabwe Tourism Authority spokesperson, Mr Godfrey Koti.
A rise in the uptake of local and external conferences has also increased the overall room occupancy for the hospitality sector, with national parks also basking in increased domestic tourism.
The tourism industry is one of Zimbabwe’s biggest foreign currency earners which is expected to play a huge role in economic growth.