ZIMBABWE’S tourism sector is targeting to receive an ambitious three million visitors by the end of this year compared to 2,5 million received in 2018, riding on improved international sentiment and aggressive destination marketing.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said this yesterday, following the recent visit by a delegation of 343 Chinese tourists, which arrived in the country last week on a four-day expedition that ended on Sunday.
The delegation had keen interest in exploring strategic alliances and business opportunities in Zimbabwe.
“Chinese tourists’ expedition ends amid renewed expectation for bigger visitations from the East Asian country. With the sector chasing an ambitious three million visitors by year end and with China being one of the biggest source markets for tourism in the world, the group’s visit is expected to help market the country’s tourist attractions,” said ZTA.
Tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe reached 2 579 974 in 2018, six percent up from 2 422 930 received in 2017.
The tourists from China are the first batch of at least 10 000 tourists from the East Asian country expected to visit Zimbabwe in the next five years.
The delegation made their last stop at Victoria Falls — Zimbabwe’s most popular tourist destination.
The visitors enjoyed their moment on a boat cruise on the Zambezi River, capped off by a send-off dinner at Elephant Hills on Sunday evening.
The send-off ceremony was graced by several Government dignitaries including Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Prisca Mupfumira.
The business and leisure tourists made a short shopping stop-over at Kuma Market, and then lunch at Boma before departing for China yesterday afternoon.
“This completes a four-day tour of the country, an expedition, which included a visit to Great Zimbabwe — the largest stone structure in Africa outside of Egypt,” said ZTA.
The visit followed a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Touchroad International Holdings Group and the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality during President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State visit to China in 2018.
The engagement offered Zimbabwe an opportunity to further raise its profile by showcasing new developments, destinations, offers and providing a platform for companies to network and do business.
“The visit undoubtedly consolidated our visibility to East Asia, apart from also generating much needed foreign currency – the 343 delegation spent well over US$1 000 each. We hope to maintain our top-of-mind brand status confirmed by the recent milestone in which we were named the third must-visit destination in the world by international travel guide, Lonely Planet,” ZTA head of corporate affairs, Mr Godfrey Koti, said.