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Zimbabwe: Tourism Eyes Boom in 2024

Local tourism players expect to reap rewards in 2024 as they have continued to invest in their properties post dire straits of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The expectations come as tourism receipts increased by 24 percent to US$272,26 million in the period to September 2023 from US$219,45 million achieved during the previous quarter of the same year, largely as a result of improved tourist arrivals.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) quarterly economic review for the quarter to September 2023, tourist arrivals increased by 41,9 percent to 494 878, compared to 348 559 recorded in the comparable period in 2022.

“The increase in tourist arrivals was attributed to the ongoing recovery in global tourism, improved transportation infrastructure, and marketing and promotion initiatives by the players in the tourism industry,” the RBZ said.

Investments in the local tourism in 2023 came from both local and foreign investors.

A total of US$300 million was poured in on investment within the sector with new facilities in restaurants, hotels, lodges, safaris and game parks dominating.

Tourism Business Council chairman Paul Matamisa said there have been investments in the sector since the Covid-19 era and now they should begin seeing many joints being operational.

“We surely have seen a number of investments in the sector, be it new resorts or upgrading of the existing ones in order to stay abreast with the current trends. We have seen new lodges around the country and many game parks have been upgraded across the country,” Mr Matamisa said.

According to reports, the ZESA Pension Fund is building a four-star hotel andconference centre in Victoria Falls that will be managed by Cresta Hotels.

Anald Musonza of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) Matabeleland chair said: “The region has been on a recovery path and yes, I can confirm that a lot of investment happened in the just ended year. I cannot quantify the amount but building a for- or five-star lodge is no small feat and it is not cheap as well.”

ZSE-listed firm, RTG, in a recent trading update said: “Hotel occupancies closed the quarter at 43 percent, which was on par with the same period in 2022. City hotels continue to drive activities for the group mainly through conferencing activities while resort hotels, which are predominantly located in Victoria Falls, have shown a strong post-Covid-19 recovery.”

In Zimbabwe, the sector is considered one of the economic mainstays and is expected to drive the country’s economic turnaround.

The Government says it has made significant progress on the implementation of the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy, which seeks to grow the tourism economy to US$5 billion by 2025.

In August 2020, President Mnangagwa launched the tourism growth plan as he led the re-start of the sector’s contribution to the national economy after having been heavily crippled by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy is anchored on Zimbabwe’s vision to be a prime international tourist destination based on the judicious and sustainable exploitation of the unique assets of nature, culture, heritage, and the built environment.

The strategy is informed by the Government’s Vision 2030 to become an upper-middle-income economy characterised by increased investment, decent jobs, and a populace free from poverty and corruption.

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