Despite the tourism sector experiencing a myriad of problems in recent years due to poor economic performance, the sector has contributed 10.9% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, in 2016, Zimbabwe recorded 2,167,686 arrivals a 5% increase from 2,056,588 in 2015, translating to an estimated US$819 million in revenue in 2016.
In a statement released to the media on Monday, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer, Karikoga Kaseke peace and tranquility in the country had contributed to rise in tourists arrivals.
“There have been number developments in the recent past, which are anticipated to spur further growth of the tourism sector.
“The recent $ 150 million face-lift of the Victoria Falls International Airport, which was commissioned by, President R.G. Mugabe in November 2016, is a game changer for the travel and tourism sector as it ushers in a new era of the country’s tourism development,” Kaseke said.
With Victoria Falls emerging as regional aviation hub, connected to major regional capitals such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Lusaka, Luanda, Windhoek, Gaborone and Maputo, Zimbabwe is expected to record further increase in arrivals in 2017.
Numerous international airlines have also expressed interest in introducing direct flights from Victoria Falls with RwandAir, Kenyan Airways, and Ethiopian Airways already landing at the Victoria Falls Airport.
South African Airlink is also expected to introduce daily flights from Cape Town to Victoria Falls from July 2017.
“Whilst there have been some businesses which closed down in recent years due to economic challenges, recently there has been a notable rise in new investments.
“For instance the ZTA registered 28 new restaurants, 17 new guesthouses and 28 incentive travel organizers in the past 24 months. This goes to show that while things may seem grim, there are positive prospects in the country’s tourism sector,” said the optimistic Kaseke.