ZIMBABWE’S tourist arrivals went up 2,6% in 2014 to 1 880 028 compared to the previous year, buoyed by arrivals from Africa, Europe and America, latest figures show.
According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) 2014 tourism overview report, there were 1 600 496 tourist arrivals form African countries, 137 465 arrivals from Europe and 66 826 arrivals from America in the year under review.
The country also recorded 42 798 and 26 031 tourist arrivals from Asia and Oceania respectively.
“This growth is 0, 7 percentage points below the sub-Saharan growth of 3,3%. There was growth in arrivals from all of the country’s major source regions except the Asia. Zimbabwe still receives 85% of tourist arrivals from low value markets,” reads the ZTA report.
In the period under review tourism receipts recorded a marginal 3% decline from US$856 million to US$827 million.
According to the reports, Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls constitute 64% of all the room and bed capacity in the country making them the major regions in accommodation.
The average room occupancy levels for Harare rose to 59% from 52% in 2013. In Bulawayo room occupancy fell to 44% from 52% while in Victoria Falls it also fell to 49% from 53%.
Bed occupancy levels in Harare also rose to 43% from 35%. Bulawayo declined in average bed occupancy levels to 32% from 34% while Victoria Falls declined to 40% in 2014 from 48%.
Overall, the national average hotel room occupancy levels remained inert at 48% while bed occupancy level fell by a percentage point from 37% to 36% in 2014.
Except in Victoria Falls, which had a foreign clientele of 73%, the domestic clientele drove the accommodation sector with 78% of hotel clientele being local. This was however, inhibited by slow economic growth.
ZTA said international tourist arrivals reached 1,138 billion in 2014, a 4,7% increase over the previous year.
“Overall demand was healthy with 51 million more tourists travelling the world. For 2015, United Nations World Tourism Organisations (UNWTO) forecasts international tourism to grow by 3% to 4%, further contributing to the global economic recovery. UNWTO estimates 75% — about 853 million of all global arrivals — to be intraregional travel.
“The strongest growth in 2014 was registered in The Americas. Asia and Pacific had the second fastest growth in international arrivals. Sub-Sahara Africa grew at a faster rate of 3,3% compared to North Africa’s 0,5%,” reads the report.