Published on : Saturday, January 12, 2019
Although Zimbabwe has seen an increase in tourist arrivals in recent years, it stands chance of losing out on the global tourism scale due to rising costs, and sector players even warned that this could deter potential visitors.
Zimbabwean government said that it expects 2.8 million visitors this year, mostly from its traditional European source markets, but this target could be missed due to high pricing which makes the country’s tourism products uncompetitive when compared to other countries in the region.
Tourism is one of the biggest foreign currency earners for Zimbabwe, having raked in US$214,9 million in visitor exports in 2017. Last year’s figures are not yet available.
The situation is worse due to the unavailability of cash in the country.
According to the Visitor Exit Survey (VES) which was conducted in 2017, international tourists prefer to use cash in transactions. Zimbabwe received a total of 2 422 930 tourist arrivals in 2017, a 12% increase from 2016 and the 2018 figures are expected to surpass those of 2017. Zimbabwe Tourism Athority (ZTA) acting chief executive Givemore Chidzidzi said that the ongoing wave of price hikes could have a harmful impact on the sector.
“Zimbabwe is proving to be a very expensive country in the region, which is not good as we will end up losing tourists when they opt to go to other destinations that are reasonably priced. Price hikes will definitely affect tourism in Zimbabwe so we need to have competitive prices with our neighbours and the southern region as well as the rest of the world,” Chidzidzi said.
Tourism and Business Council of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Paul Matamisa however said that the country may still benefit from tourists-in-transit who are ordinarily not affected by the price hikes and cash shortages.