The Durban Indaba, a highly rated tourism fair in Africa, has been described as a game changer for the tourism sector in Zimbabwe amid projections of increased influx of travellers into the country.

Statistics from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) indicate a projected growth trajectory in tourist arrivals from 2.5 million last year to 2.7 million this year.

This is amid revelations that one of the hospitality industry players has secured US$2 million worth of business between April and December this year from American tourists booked through a destination management company from their country.

ZTA Acting Chief Executive Mrs Rita Likukuma confirmed this during the Durban Indaba which she said has resulted in fascinating potential deals being undertaken alongside some exciting enquiries.

These include tourism pledges for civil servants from China and discussions around direct flights from German and China.

“We have had amazing game changing enquiries including a fascinating enquiry from China. Tourists’ numbers are growing from 2.5 million last year to 2.7 this year. One of our hospitality industry players has interacted with Americans through a destination management company and got business worth US$2 million from tourists. From Berlin, a big airline is to start direct flights into Harare and so will be the Chinese bringing on board another day one,” said Mrs Likukuma.

Meanwhile, panelists who took part in a business conversation session held at the indaba bemoaned lack of special packages to promote intra Africa tourism with experts citing inhibitive costs of travelling in the continent and lack of synergies between operators as major hindrances to continental tourism.

Zimbabwe has about 50 exhibitors at the Durban Indaba.