The first quarter of 2018 saw Zimbabwe record a 15 percent increase in tourism arrivals and a 20 percent rise in receipts compared to the same period last year. Such results are a positive indication of changing perceptions surrounding the country in the new post-Mugabe era.
Statistics from the national Fiscal Policy and Advisory Services Department showed that there were 554,417 arrivals into the nation in the period ended 31 March, up from 480,510 the year before. In the same timeframe receipts from the tourism market increased from $156m to $190m.
The treasury is expecting record gains for the rest of the year as the positive impact of the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” campaign continues to improve the nation’s standing on the international stage.
A statement from the fiscal department accompanying the latest set of results read: “Renewed interest in business opportunities and investments in Zimbabwe complemented by marketing efforts and improved destination image are expected to provide a platform for tourism and economic growth.”
Whilst international marketing has brought the investment opportunities of the region to worldwide attention Zimbabwe’s current reliance on South African arrivals is a potential bump in the road.
The latest figures show that 30 percent of all inbound tourism comes from South Africa but this could see a drop due to the waning strength of the rand on the dollar.
This could of course be offset by a growing of other markets, with many on the continent beginning to reap the rewards of Asian tourism and typically high amenity spend it tends to bring.