Zimbabwe witnesses drop in South African tourist arrivals due to weak South Africa Rand

Published on : Thursday, July 9, 2015

zimbabwe flagThe depreciation of the South African Rand has caused Zimbabwe to witness a drop in tourist arrivals from South Africa a major source market — by 15 per cent in the last two years.

The depreciation of the South African Rand makes it more expensive for people from South Africa to travel abroad.

Parliament in Harare was informed Wednesday by Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi that the waning value of the South African Rand against the US dollar was one of the major challenges affecting the local tourism sector.

Zimbabwe adopted the use of multi-currencies in 2009, but transactions are mainly carried out using the US dollar in this country.

“South Africa is a source market and in fact 70 per cent of visitors into Zimbabwe are actually derived or they come from South Africa whether by extension because they have visited South Africa or South Africans themselves,” he said.

“The weakening Rand against the US dollar is making our destination uncompetitive and in the last two years we have suffered 15 per cent successive declines in arrivals from South Africa because of currency imbalances between the Rand and the US dollar.”

Mzembi said the tourism sector was also suffering from other challenges including stringent visa requirements. He said Zimbabwe had to review very vigorously this aspect of entry through visas. “Ideally, if you want to enjoy tourism income you must stretch your arms and welcome the world.”

Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is on the rebound following years of decline caused by negative publicity from Western media in nearly two decades after the country implemented agrarian reforms to correct colonial land imbalances.

Despite the improvement, the industry still faces challenges that include inadequate infrastructure and limited air connectivity. In order to counter the challenges, the government is working on various initiatives and has introduced a policy focused on tourism development.

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