Business Traveller (Africa) - - FEATURE – ZIMBABWE -

Tourism has been long iden­ti­fied as one of the ar­eas of op­por­tu­nity for Zim­babwe. Tourism is a foreign cur­rency earner which cur­rently con­trib­utes 10% to the GDP. Ac­cord­ing to the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe, in 2017 tourism foreign ex­change re­ceipts to­talled $151 mil­lion, a con­tri­bu­tion of 2,7% to the coun­try’s to­tal foreign re­ceipts.

“Tourism poli­cies and in­fra­struc­ture can cre­ate mas­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties for an econ­omy, not only through job cre­ation and di­rect/in­di­rect in­come from tourism ac­tiv­i­ties, but also cre­at­ing op­por­tu­nity for in­ter­ac­tion and busi­ness av­enues,” says Rishabh Tha­par, As­so­ciate Di­rec­tor at global hos­pi­tal­ity con­sul­tancy HVS Africa. “Ac­cord­ing to the World Travel and Tourism Coun­cil, while the di­rect con­tri­bu­tion of travel and tourism to Zim­babwe’s GDP was 3.5%, the to­tal con­tri­bu­tion of travel and tourism to GDP – in­clud­ing wider ef­fects from in­vest­ment, the sup­ply chain and in­duced in­come im­pacts – was over 8% in 2016 and 2017.”

It would ap­pear that most travel itin­er­ar­ies in South­ern Africa do not ex­plore Zim­babwe’s tourist at­trac­tions beyond the famed Vic­to­ria Falls.

“This presents an op­por­tu­nity. Zim­babwe has abun­dant nat­u­ral at­trac­tions such as Nyanga Na­tional Park, Mato­pos Na­tional Park, Hwange Na­tional Park, Lake Kariba, the Great Zim­bab­wean Ru­ins and Chin­hoyi Caves, which all need to be pro­moted and es­tab­lished into itin­er­ar­ies and tourism cir­cuits,” says Tha­par.

He rec­om­mends that a mas­ter­plan for all these des­ti­na­tions is de­vel­oped to en­hance the tourist’s ex­pe­ri­ence and ul­ti­mately in­crease the length of stay in the coun­try.

While the plan should fo­cus on air­lines, con­nec­tiv­ity, ho­tels and tourism in­fra­struc­ture and ac­tiv­i­ties, Tha­par con­cludes that the govern­ment would also need to in­vest into build­ing a long-term tourism policy for preser­va­tion and con­ser­va­tion, while pro­vid­ing in­cen­tives for pri­vate in­vestors.

“We an­tic­i­pate that Zim­babwe is on the verge of a ma­jor eco­nomic turn­around that will re­sult in an in­creased de­mand for rooms and MICE busi­ness,” says Tendai Madzi­wanyika, CEO of the Rain­bow Tourism Group. “We be­lieve that Zim­babwe is a safe, sta­ble and se­cure coun­try and we see sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est in the coun­try fol­low­ing the stag­ing of the re­cent har­monised elec­tions. This cre­ates busi­ness and leisure growth op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­ter­na­tional hos­pi­tal­ity brands and we ex­pect to see new in­ter­na­tional en­trants into the mar­ket.”

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