Tourism sector registers 62 percent growth Minister Barbra Rwodzi

Freeman Razemba

Senior Reporter

The tourism sector has increased significantly during the first half of this year with a 62 percent of international tourist arrivals, from 366 062 in 2022 to 591 524 in 2023, government has said.

Tourism receipts also increased by 16 percent from US$343,1 million in 2022 to US$397,7 million, while tourism investments registered a 24 percent increase from US$96,5 million in 2022 to US$120,1 million in 2023.

This was said by the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Barbra Rwodzi during the launch of South African airline, FlySafair, on its first maiden flights into the country.

“As the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, I firmly believe that the development of our tourism sector is closely tied to the accessibility of our destinations. The interconnectedness of tourism and aviation means that the progress of one directly Impacts the advancement of the other. By improving air services and enhancing connectivity, we create new opportunities for both domestic and international visitors to visit and explore Zimbabwe, a World of Wonders,” she said in a speech read on her behalf by Deputy Minister Tongai Mnangagwa.

She said globally, international tourism reached 90 percent in July 2023 of pre- pandemic levels, due to continued pent-up demand and very few remaining travel restrictions.

Minister Rwodzi said an estimated 700 million tourists travelled internationally between January and July 2023, an increase of 43 percent over the same period in 2022.

“Coming back home, the performance of the Tourism Sector has increased significantly during the first half of 2023, wherein the country registered an increase of 62 percent international tourist arrivals, from 366 062 in 2022 to 591 524 in 2023.

“Tourism receipts increased by 16 percent from US$343,1 million in 2022 to US$397,7 million, while tourism investments registered a 24% increase from US$96,5 million in 2022 to US$120,1 million in 2023,” she said.

She said the decision by FlySafair to launch flights to Harare and Victoria Falls is a clear demonstration of the airline confidence in Zimbabwe as a desirable tourist destination.

“Their investment serves as a testament to the remarkable strides we have made in creating an enabling environment for tourism development. FlySafair has established itself as a reputable airline known for its unwavering commitment to safety, efficiency, and exceptional customer service. We are honoured to have them as partners in promoting tourism and facilitating seamless travel within our beautiful nation,” Minister Rwodzi said.

“It is important to clarify any misconceptions: Zimbabwe is home to the Majestic Victoria Falls, One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Therefore, FlySafair’s flights and its presence, has a huge impact in improving the accessibility of this awe-inspiring destination to both regional and international tourists. The Majestic Victoria Falls is accessible through the Victoria Falls International Airport, which is poised to become a regional tourism hub. Travellers experience the breathtaking beauty of the falls and engage in adrenaline-fueled activities in Victoria Falls.”

Minister Rwodzi said the capital city, Harare, also offers convenient access to explore their remarkable attractions such as the National Heroes Acre, the Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences, Mbare Market, Balancing Rocks in Epworth and the beautiful Harare Gardens.

“Outside the Victoria Falls and Harare, Zimbabwe is endowed with both rich cultural and natural heritage spread across the whole country, and awaiting tourists and visitors alike to enjoy. The recently upgraded R. G. Mugabe International Airport, not only provides access to Zimbabwe’s World of Wonders, but also serves as a strategic gateway to Southern Africa and destination Zimbabwe.

“This will ultimately edify our tourism economy through various revenue channels, employment and many other benefits. I urge all stakeholders in the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry to seize the opportunities presented by FlySafair’s air services and collaborate to showcase Zimbabwe’s incredible beauty to the world. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to the Airports Company of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd for their invaluable contribution in making Zimbabwe more accessible,” she said.

She commended President Mnangagwa, for opening up the nation to the world through Engagement and Reengagement Programme that is now yielding fruitful results.

She said the ongoing expansion project of the R.G Mugabe International Airport is already positioning Zimbabwe favourably on the global map.

“The Government of Zimbabwe has set a goal to create a $5billion tourism economy by 2025, and these developments bring us closer to achieving that objective. The coming in of new players of late into the airspace is evident that the Government is committed to the adaptation of the Open Skies Policy and the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market.

“I assure you that we will continue working tirelessly to strengthen our tourism sector, promote sustainable practices, and create an unforgettable experience for every visitor who chooses Zimbabwe as their destination,” she said.

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