Tourists in Victoria Falls are spending 25% less than they used to and this has been attributed to the changing profile of the visitors.
Zimbabwe has seen a growing number of tourists from China and Eastern Europe over the years due to the country’s frosty relations with the West.
However, industry experts say the new breed of tourists are not high spenders.
Employers’ Association of Tourism and Safari Operators president Clement Mukwasi said this was impacting negatively on business in the resort town.
“The expenditure has gone down drastically. We used to earn at least $1 000 from 50 tourists, but now we are getting $1 000 from 75 people,” he said.
“The tourist arrivals have improved, but expenditure is lagging behind and we have to put more efforts to improve that.
“The Eastern bloc doesn’t spend much as compared to the Western bloc because they do not do many activities.”
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) recently noted in its 2014 preliminary report that Zimbabwe registered a 1% increase in tourist arrivals to 867 163 compared to 860 995 during the same period last year.
ZTA attributed this growth to the increase in European arrivals, with Germany accounting for 35% at 10 241 from 6 618 and the UK growing 9% to 20 812 from 19 007.
Presenting his 2014 Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review statement, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said tourisms contribution to the gross domestic product should rise to 15%, from the current 10% this year.
This would see generation of earnings rise from the current $749 million to over $1,8 billion, as tourist arrivals increase from 2,5 million to 3,2 million by 2015.