ZIMBABWE recorded a 17% increase in tourist arrivals to 404 282 in the first three months of this year helped by the growth in regional trade and commerce.
Report by Own Correspondent
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said in the first three months, tourist arrivals stood at 404 282 up from 346 299, recorded in the same period last year.
“This growth is clearly a witness of the country’s improved destination image, resuming competitiveness in the region,” the ZTA report reads.
“The ever-increasing regional trade and commerce also contributed immensely to the growth through indirect transiting and business tourists, as shown by the current 40% increase in business tourists and 65% increase in shopping tourists.”
Overall arrivals from the overseas markets grew 54% to 57 854 on the backdrop of an increase in arrivals from Europe and Asia.
Europe contributed 54% of the overseas arrivals followed by Asia with 20% of the overseas market share.
“While all markets registered growth, arrivals from Europe and Asia experienced significant increases, which have been to an extent due to the increased outbound trend especially
in China and the softening of the eurozone crisis,” the authority said.
Mainland Africa recorded a 12% increase in arrivals to 346 428 up from 308 646 registered in the same period last year with South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia contributing close to 70% of all arrivals in the region. Africa contributed 86% of the arrival market share to Zimbabwe followed by Europe 8%, Asia 3% and Americas 3%.
The Oceania and Middle East markets remain depressed with less than 2% of the arrivals into the country.
Commenting on hotel occupancy, ZTA said average hotel room occupancy levels remained stagnant at 46% while average hotel bed occupancy levels rose a percentage point up to 35%.
As for lodges, average room occupancy levels grew two percentage points up to 44% this year while average bed occupancy levels were also up 5% to 35%.
ZTA, however, said leisure tourism is still in its infancy in the country particularly among the locals.