Zimbabwe is losing millions of dollars in potential revenue to regional tourism markets as locals are shunning expensive local products.

Statistics by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa for the period January 2016 to January 2017 show that 244 966 Zimbabweans arrived in South Africa despite reflecting a slight drop on the 2016 figure.

Compared to arrivals from South Africa into Zimbabwe which stand at 96587,¬† down a hefty 27 percent from last year’s figure, according to the 2017 first quarter tourism performance highlights released by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), the disparity in figures shows that locals are shunning domestic products in favour of other destinations.

The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Dr Walter Mzembi said the absence of a domestic tourism survey in the country has added to an already existing challenge where the country is operating in a negative travel balance.

Tourism authorities have embarked on various strategies to improve the appetite for domestic tourism in the country which has resulted in most hotels and tour operators   reviewing their pricing models on their packages to attract locals.

Despite these efforts, there are concerns that the pricing models on accommodation remain prohibitive for the active participation by locals.