Adelaide Moyo Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says it is in the process of evaluating the performance of the country’s tourism sector for last year to come up with statistics on arrivals.
This follows a world tourism barometer report by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) which stated that international tourist arrivals globally increased by 4,4 percent for 2015.
The report says a total of 1,184 million international tourists travelled around the world last year.
ZTA head of public relations Sugar Chagonda said: “We’re in the process of compiling figures so that we determine whether we had an increase or decrease in international tourist arrivals. We’ll be having our figures by February.”
In October last year, the tourism authority reported a seven percent increase in tourist arrivals in the first half to 930,276 from 876,163 during the same period in 2014.
The increase was mostly driven by the rise in mainland Africa at 87 percent.
The world tourism barometer stated that destinations worldwide reached a record of 1,2 million tourists last year.
About 50 million more tourists (overnight visitors) travelled to international destinations around the world last year as compared to 2014.
UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai said 2015 marks the 6th consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by four percent or more every year since the post-crisis year of 2010.
“International tourism reached new heights in 2015. The robust performance of the sector is contributing to economic growth and job creation in many parts of the world. It’s thus critical for countries to promote policies that foster the continued growth of tourism, including travel facilitation, human resources development and sustainability” Rifai said.
“Demand was strong overall, though with mixed results across individual destinations due to unusually strong exchange rate fluctuations, the drop in oil prices and other commodities which increased disposable income in importing countries but weakened demand in exporters, as well as increased safety and security concerns.”
The barometer shows that Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Middle East all recorded a five percent positive growth in international arrivals.
Europe recorded a five percent increase which led to growth in absolute and relative terms supported by a weaker Euro vis-à-vis the United States dollar and other main currencies.
Arrivals reached 609 million, a 29 million increase from 2014 figures.
Asia and the Pacific recorded 13 million more international tourist arrivals last year to reach 277 million, with uneven results across destinations.
International tourist arrivals in the Americas increased to 9 million to reach 191 million, consolidating the strong results of 2014.
The appreciation of the US dollar stimulated outbound travel from the United States.
International tourist arrivals in the Middle East grew to 54 million, consolidating the recovery initiated in 2014.
Limited available data for Africa points to a three percent decrease in international arrivals, reaching a total of 53 million tourists.
“The 2015 results were influenced by exchange rates, oil prices and natural and man-made crises in many parts of the world. As the current environment highlights in a particular manner the issues of safety and security, we should recall that tourism development greatly depends upon our collective capacity to promote safe, secure and seamless travel.