Zimbabwe is targeting to increase tourists traffic from the Chinese market and benefit from the growth in the Asian country’s outbound tourism which has seen an estimated 120 million Chinese travellers making foreign trips around the world annually over the past few years.

Tourist arrivals from China into Zimbabwe remain far below potential despite a 23% jump during the first six months of 2018.

Statistics from the local tourism promotion body, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) show that 7200 arrivals were recorded during the first six months of 2018 compared to 5900 during the same period in 2017.

Zimbabwean Ambassador to China, Ambassador Paul Chikawa, who was recently in Victoria Falls, believes that tourists traffic from the Chinese market can be increased through destination marketing programmes and cultural exchange initiatives.

“We have seen a steady growth in terms of arrivals from China in percentage terms but if you look at the exact numbers, we are still far below potential. China is pushing around 120 million visitors per year and we are getting less than 10 000 of those outbound trips,” he said.

The diplomat hailed the continued rebound of the local tourism industry, adding that sprucing up key tourism enablers is critical in sustaining the current recovery.

“Let us work on the key enablers but most importantly, we should preserve the obtaining peace. We must appreciate the fact that we are all Zimbabweans and have a duty to rebuild this great nation. Peace is also the nation’s one comparative advantage,” he added.

China’s outbound tourism market has shown no sign of slowing down with statistics from the online travel agent, CTIP and China Tourism Academy showing that Chinese travellers made 71.3 million outbound trips during the first half of 2018, representing a 15% year-on-year jump.