Published on : Friday, January 11, 2019
The government of Zimbabwe says it expects 2.8 million visitors this year, mostly from its traditional European source markets, but this target could be missed because of the high pricing regime which renders the country’s tourism products uncompetitive as compared to other countries in the region.
The tourism is one of the country’s biggest foreign currency earners, having raked in US$214,9 million in visitor exports in 2017. Last year’s figures are not yet available. The situation is worsened by 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 2 167 686 received in 2016 and the 2018 figures are expected to surpass those of 2017. The growth in arrivals was driven by the notable increase in arrivals from all source regions and most major markets. Of particular note is the growth in arrivals from all European, North American and Asian markets.
Zimbabwe Tourism Athority (ZTA) acting chief executive Givemore Chidzidzi told the Zimbabwe Independent that the ongoing wave of price hikes could have a negative impact on the sector.
The Tourism and Business Council of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Paul Matamisa however says the country may still benefit from tourists-in-transit who are ordinarily not affected by the price hikes and cash shortages. In the 2019 national budget, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the government was making efforts to promote the country’s tourism products to the world.