Business has increased by 40 percent in the photographic safaris over the last two years with indications that bookings for the remaining half of the year will see a further increase in tourist arrivals.

Non-consumptive tourism in the Hwange and Gwayi conservancies is picking up despite the negative publicity initiated by the former white owners.

The tourists mainly consist of self-drives from South Africa with a few coming from overseas markets.

However, the players are now in urgent need of capital from financial institutions to rehabilitate the poor road network which was effected by the heavy rains earlier this year as well as renovate the current infrastructure to international standards, says the chairperson of the Hwange-Gwayi-Dete Conservancy and Tourism Association, Mr Langton Masunda.

“The bookings are good viz-a-viz the infrastructure that we have at the moment, it all boils down to the availability of funding so that we are able to put our infrastructure to world class standards, because we are not only in competition amongst ourselves but we are in competition with other regional destinations. So the more the funding is made available the more we are able to compete with our counterparts in the region that is Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa,” he said.

The association has been having representatives attending tourism and travel fairs in the region and beyond to promote travel to the destination.

Non-consumptive tourism, also known as photographic safaris refers to holiday business which is done without one being engaged in hunting and involves activities such as game drives, sight-seeing, horse riding, canoeing, wildlife photography and visiting of heritage sites among others.