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Zimbabwe tourist arrivals up 6 percent

Staff Writer |
Zimbabwe registered a 6-percent rise in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2017 to 479,718 up from 450,572 during the same period last year, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said Wednesday.

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The ZTA said the increase was mainly driven by the 5-percent rise in arrivals from mainland Africa, along with all other major markets except Asia, which registered a 4-percent decline.

According to the ZTA, Africa continued to command the bulk of arrivals in Zimbabwe with an 84-percent market share, followed by Europe (7 percent), the United States (5 percent), Asia (3 percent) and the Middle East and the Oceania (1 percent).

The ZTA, however, expressed concern at the stagnation of arrivals from South Africa, the country's major market.

"This calls for serious consideration in addressing facilitation issues especially at Beitbridge Border post. There is also need to seriously look at upgrading roads especially the Harare-Beitbridge highway," the ZTA said.

During the period, arrivals from Europe rose by 29 percent to 35,381 from 27,433 with increases in most major markets including Britain that registered a growth of 132 percent, France (76 percent) and Germany (8 percent).

"The increase in European arrivals is a positive development considering the fact that this region closed with an 18-percent decline in 2016. The European market share stood at 7 percent and is second only to Africa, thus Europe, remains as the greatest overseas market for the country," the ZTA said.

The Americas had been a major expanding market in 2016 and continued to increase in the first quarter of 2017, contributing 23,297 arrivals, 3 percent up from 22,620 in the first quarter of 2016, the ZTA said.

Zimbabwe received 2.2 million tourist arrivals in 2016 generating an estimated 819 million dollars in revenue, up from 2 million received in 2015.

The country is targeting to reach 5 million tourist arrivals by 2020.

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