eelephant hills hotel 24.08.10.jpgStakeholders in the tourism sector say they have noticed a steady increase of tourist arrivals in the country’s resort towns.

 

The end of July and early August marked the beginning of a new era in the tourism sector, with some hotels mostly in Victoria Falls and Kariba recording more than 90% of room occupancy, compared to the past 12 months and this time of the year where they were averaging 40% in room occupancy.
  
This has been attributed to the aggressive marketing strategies through tourism expos and exhibitions as well as the removal of travel warnings which were perceiving Zimbabwe as an unsafe tourism destination in the world.

 

Giving an overview of the sector, Zimbabwe Council of Tourism President, Mr. Emmanuel Fundira said marketing strategies by ZTA, government and the private sector are bearing fruit.

 

“The industry would like such a steady increase of tourists to continue and more strategies will be unveiled in the private and public sector,” Mr Fundira said.

 

However, he said more still needs to be done to enable a quick and efficient service to visitors when they arrive at the Victoria Falls Airport as the current system has seen visitors spending up to two hours whilst clearing goods.

 

“There is need for the immigration department to increase the number of new machines at the airport. The new immigration system which is through a machine readable passport is delaying visitors, especially those in category B Visas who can get visas at the point of entry,” added Mr Fundira.

 

On average, two flights land at Victoria Falls Airport every day, with Air Namibia also flying twice a week to the town.

 

16 more flights per week are recorded at the tourist resort, with an average of 400 tourists everyday most of whom are from the country’s traditional markets which include America and Britain and these account for 67% of the tourist arrivals. 

 

Tourism is one of the four pillars of development and this year it is expected to contribute 15 % to the Gross Domestic Product.