High cost drivers that have influenced the pricing models of accommodation and tourism facilities in the country remain among the pull factors that threaten the competitiveness of the country as a destination when compared to other African markets.
A first quarter report by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) on the performance of the tourism sector reflects a stagnation of arrivals from South Africa, the country’s major market, attributable to a number of factors among them the price structures that have placed accommodation and facilities beyond the reach of both the domestic and foreign investors.
But it is not only the South African market that has responded to such vagaries within the market, other source markets have also raised the same concerns.
The discussions that started seven years ago when Zimbabwe assumed the multi-currency regime, continue to affect its competitiveness and in the long run may result in more source markets becoming shivery.
In the yesteryear, Zimbabwe was a popular spot for group bookings by international tourists but now preference is for individual bookings, for the same reasons of cost structures.
While they may be solace in that work on a price assessment report is nearing completion, in the meantime Zimbabwe continues to lose valuable revenue to neighbouring source markets particularly South Africa as the country is operating in a net negative losing close to $2 billion annually to nationals who find it cheaper to travel to South Africa.
However, there is another problem, industry leaders bemoan the under marketing of other tourism destinations such as the Chilojo Cliffs, Bridal Veil in Manicaland and the beach in Binga.
Kanyemba area is a perfect example of an under-marketed product in the country despite it hosting some of nature’s best products.
The little knowledge around the dinosaur fossils found in Chewore south, Lower Zambezi highlights key gaps in marketing the country to the global market.