THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has revised upwards its projected tourist arrivals for 2006 after recording a 33% increase in arrivals during the fir
st half of the year.
ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said the revision was prompted by the increase in tourist arrivals during the first six months of the year which surpassed projections.
“For the second half the authority (had) projected 926 879 tourists. The figure is now being revised to 1,1 million, bringing the total projected tourist arrivals for 2006 to 2,1 million, a 35% increase when compared to 2005,” Kaseke said.
ZTA had projected that the country would receive 983 818 tourists during the first half of the year. The projected arrivals were surpassed by 3,6%, bringing the total number of tourists during the period to 1 019 814.
The ZTA boss said there had been an increase in tourist traffic from all source markets except Europe which registered a decline of 13%.
The decline in arrivals from Europe was attributed to the World Cup which was held in Germany.
Tourist arrivals from Asia increased by 75%, while arrivals from the American and African markets increased by 26% and 36% respectively.
Kaseke however said the performance of the tourism sector hinged on adequate fuel supplies, improved accessibility by tourist source markets and facilitation at the border posts.
“The first half of the year is usually the quieter part of the year, and we anticipate more activity during the second half,” said Kaseke.
Zimbabwe Council of Tourism (ZCT) chief executive officer, Paul Matamisa, said it was vital for all major stakeholders in the industry to work together if the revised projections were to be achieved.
“We are confident that the set projections will be achieved. The successful implementation of the strategic marketing plans which the authority has just finalised is the key to achieving our set targets,” Matamisa said.
Hotel occupancy rates during the first half of the year were low compared to the number of tourist arrivals as non-registered tour operators housed a significant number of the visitors.