Tourist arrivals in Q1 up 7pc Victoria Falls

VICTORIA FALLSZimbabwe recorded a 7 percent increase in tourist arrivals during the first half of the year to 930 276 from 876 163 in the same period last year.

According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority half year review, the increase was mostly driven by the rise in visitors from mainland Africa at 87 percent. All the other major markets experienced declines except Oceania which rose by 26 percent

Mainland Africa registered 811 717 tourist arrivals, up from 745 566 in 2014 representing a 9 percent increase. To a large extent, the increase in arrivals from South Africa (38 percent) boosted the rise in arrivals from mainland Africa due the big market share it commands

The ZTA noted that most of the arrivals from this market are through Beitbridge border post (71 percent) and Harare international Airport (12 percent). According to statistics from Beitbridge border post, most of the South African arrivals are those visiting friends and relatives and those on leisure.

Arrivals from Europe fell marginally by 1 percent with declines in major markets including France, Germany, Italy, Nordic countries and Spain pulling down the overall performance of the region. The arrivals fell from 60 530 in 2014 to 60 021 in 2015. The European market share stood at 6 percent down 1 percentage point from 7 percent in 2014. Europe remains the greatest overseas market for the country.

ZTA said arrivals from the Asian market fell by 8 percent to 14 999 from 16 370 in 2014 with Japan and South Korea (the major markets) declining too. However, China’s performance was quite encouraging, rising by 46 percent during the period under review.

Research has shown that 81 percent of the Chinese arrivals entered through Harare International Airport, followed by Victoria Falls border with 6 percent, Victoria Falls Airport with 5 percent and Kazungula with 3 percent. No single Chinese entered through Beitbridge border post.

“Further investigations also revealed that the bulk of the Chinese coming through the Harare International Airport are for business purposes. It is important to note that cumbersome visa procedures have been the major inhibiting factor for the growth of this market in Zimbabwe. Steps are already under way to improve the Visa regime so as to attract more from this global outbound giant,” said ZTA

The Americas continue to be the second greatest overseas region for Zimbabwe since 2014. The region has maintained an overall market share of 3 percent. Arrivals from the Americas, like most other regions, fell by 11 percent from 30 373 in 2014 to 27 117. This decline was largely a result of the pulling down effect of the fall in arrivals from the United States by 16 percent. — Wires.

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