Cresta Column – Regional tourism figures up

By Francis Ngwenya

THE Regional Tourism of Southern Africa (Retosa) director Shepherd Nyaruwata says there were 700 000 more visitors to the region last year as compared to 2002.



NT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>He says this was largely due to the improved security outlook for the region caused by the positive changes in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).


Nyaruwata said more than 13,5 million tourists came to southern Africa last year.


“This is exciting news for the region but one wonders how many of these came to Zimbabwe,” he said.


He said the key source markets for the period were Canada, the United States, Australia and Japan.


The increase in regional tourist arrivals came on the back of several international campaigns by Retosa and using the services of three reputable public relations companies.


The companies were BCA Communications for the US, Integra for Australia and Interface Tourism in France.


I am sure most of us would agree that Retosa is doing the right thing in line with their mandate, but more has to be done to market Zimbabwe.


A starting point would be for Retosa to support the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA’s) focus on new markets such as China.


On another note, one cannot wait for the time when tourists to Zimbabwe get value added tax refunds for the goods purchased but consumed in Zimbabwe.


This could witness the hospitality industry increasing the average length of stay of tourists and I am sure that Zimbabwe would attract new market segments.


In fact a good shopping experience is a key part of what most would call a good holiday. Those of us who are married have been properly educated on this aspect!


We therefore wish to engage the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) on the issue of VAT refunds for foreign tourists.


Francis Ngwenya is president of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe and operations director of Cresta Hospitality group.


The ZTA says 2,2 million visitors came to Zimbabwe last year. The association says most tourists were from the Far East incuding China and Japan.


China now has a special tourism facility signed with Zimbabwe last year, whereby preferential treatment is given to visitors from the two nations.