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Zero growth for tourism

Paul Nyakazeya

ZIMBABWE’S tourism industry recorded zero growth during the first half of the year due to lack of efficient marketing, cost structures and negative

perceptions of the country, the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism (ZCT) has said.

ZCT chief executive, Paul Matamisa, told the Zimbabwe Independent this week his council was seriously looking into the stagnation in the tourism industry.

“When we talk of growth we refer to arrivals and revenue and the industry has not recorded any growth since the beginning of the year,” Matamisa said.

He attributed the stagnation to poor marketing and the country’s cost structure that has made Zimbabwe’s prices expensive in international terms.

“While most of our tourists have been from the Far East, it is important for the industry to maintain our European market,” Matamisa said.

“You cannot afford to ignore existing markets at this stage because it can take long to lure them back once they are gone,” he said.

He said what was needed to increase growth in the industry in the short-term were roadshows locally and abroad to market the country.

Figures made available by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority for the first quarter of the year show that the industry recorded marginal increases of 2%, earning the country close to US$22 million.

However, the rise in arrivals did not translate into improved revenue as the sector saw a decline of 31% in receipts, down from US$30,5 million achieved last year to US$21,2 million. A total of 495 976 tourists visited the country, up from 452 683 recorded during the period under review.

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