Zimbabwe tourism bounce back onto the world map

 Monday, July 23, 2018 


indexAlmost after two decades in low phase, tourism of Zimbabwe is relishing a rebound big time with visitors returning in droves to witness the majestic Victoria Falls and discover unraveled safari reserves.

The number of foreign visitors to Victoria Falls, the southern African country’s flagship destination, increased to almost 50 percent in the first quarter of 2018 in comparison to the same time last year, the tourism minister says.

Countrywide, arrivals increased by 15 percent to 554,417, as per treasury statistics.

Political and economic chaos under longtime autocratic ruler Robert Mugabe had ruined the industry. However the authorities and tourism operators at present consider that the industry has a new lease of life.

In November, Mugabe was expelled after a 37-year oppressive rule at the time of which tourists avoided the country, apprehensive of police demanding bribes, crumbling infrastructure and scarce fuel.

Also, from 2009, cash was in short supply when hyperinflation strained Zimbabwe to dump its own currency in favour of the US dollar.

“We were in a closed period for a long time,” admitted Tourism Minister Priscah Mupfumira, speaking ahead of key elections on July 30. “We closed ourselves in, doors were locked.”

As Emmerson Mnangagwa took over as president from Mugabe in a de facto coup last year, “we are poised for growth,” the minister told AFP.

“There are good vibes from the industry and from the international world — everybody is so positive,” she said.

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