The Zimbabwe is Open for Business mantra, which was sold to the world in Davos, Switzerland by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is paying dividend in the tourism sector with a 48 percent increase in foreign tourists having been recorded within four months this year alone compared to the same period last year.

Presenting a paper on the state of tourism in Zimbabwe during a cocktail hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority during the recent Durban Travel Indaba in South Africa, a tourism guru, Mr Ross Kennedy said an estimated 20 000 more tourists flew into Victoria Falls between January and April this year, a figure that represents a 48 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Mr Kennedy attributed the influx of tourists to what he termed new sentiment, as expressed by President Mnangagwa when he invited the world in Switzerland to come and invest in Zimbabwe.

Mr Kennedy, who sits in the Civil Aviation Routes Committee also revealed that new airlines are set to ply the Zimbabwean airspace, with one on the verge of providing four aircrafts as soon as signatures to the deal are appended.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Cde Prisca Mupfumira pledged the government’s commitment to continually address concerns of tourists and investors in the sector.

She added that the proposed merger between the Zimbabwe Investment Authority and ZimTrade is one such way of improving the ease of doing business in the country.

Wild Zambezi Director, Sally Wynn, who markets Zimbabwe online, said the interest shown by prospective tourists to Zimbabwe during the Durban Indaba has taken the tourism industry by surprise.

Meanwhile, ZTA CEO, Karikoga Kaseke has called on the Ministry of Finance to compliment efforts to put Zimbabwe back into its rightful place on the tourism map by providing funding for tourism programmes.

The Durban Indaba was described as a success as it generated interest from many buyers and travelers from across the world.