Zimbabwe has recorded an astonishing 108% increase in tourist arrivals during the first quarter of the year.
This remarkable growth has sparked optimism within the country’s tourism industry and is being hailed as a significant boost to the country’s economy.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said during the period under review, tourism receipts improved by 36% compared to the same period last year.
#“The first quarter of 2023 saw a 108 percent increase in tourist arrivals compared to the same period last year. Tourism receipts rose by 36% compared to last year while the national average room occupancy results experienced a four percentage point growth in average room occupancies from 33% in 2022 to 37 percent this year,” ZTA said in response to questions by this publication.
ZTA Chief executive officer Ms. Winnie Muchanyuka was quoted in the media as saying the sector received a total of 271 188 in the quarter from 130 536 in 2022 a clear sign that the sector is on a full recovery path.
“Most markets registered growth with arrivals from Africa recording a 150 percent increase while arrivals from the Middle East rose by 373 percent, a figure that doubled in the period under review.
“We, unfortunately, recorded a 17 percent drop in the Oceania market,” she said.
“The increase in international tourist arrivals into the country is largely due to the resumption of travel and trade in the region, global tourism recovery and increased accessibility. This increase is also a result of international initiatives such as the Visit Zimbabwe, MeetInZim and ZimBho campaigns, which were embarked both locally and on the international market during the period under review.”
The growth in receipt is attributed to increased efforts at promoting Meetings, Initiatives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism, domestic tourism promotion and the relaxation of travel restrictions as the countries globally emerged from Covid-19 lockdowns.
Country realised US$178, 7 million in tourism receipts in the first quarter compared to US$131 million received during the same period last year.
Ms. Muchanyuka said this year’s first quarter performance saw continued recovery in the accommodation sector.
“The national average room occupancy results experienced a four percentage point growth in average room occupancies from 33 percent in 2022 to 37 percent in 2023. Although some regions saw decreased performance in the review period, the overall increase in the occupancy levels was driven by growths in Harare, Victoria Falls and Beitbridge.
“These three regions account for over 52% of the national hotel room capacity and thus have a sway on the overall performance,” she said.
The United World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) latest Tourism Barometer indicates that the tourism sector’s strong recovery pace will continue in 2023.
At the close of the first quarter, international tourist arrivals reached 80% of the pre pandemic levels, indicating a significant rebound.
During this period, an estimated 235 million tourists traveled globally, more than double the number from the same period last year.