from DANIEL JONES in Hwange, Zimbabwe
HWANGE – ZIMBABWE tourism executives believe the sector is on course to bounce back to levels experienced before COVID-19.
Victoria Falls, the country’s prime destination and conference capital, buoys such sentiment as it has been a hive of activity lately.
“The industry seems to be on the right path to recovery,” said Wengai Nhau, the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe president.
Tourism was the hardest hit by successive lockdowns imposed as a way of controlling the spread of the global pandemic.
Victoria Falls was the worst affected by the pandemic in terms of job losses.
Tourism created more than 100 000 jobs in 2019, making a significant contribution to employment levels in the country.
“Victoria Falls is a very good case point in terms of benchmarking,” Nhau said.
“We foresee the resort getting back to life and us getting back to our 2019 figures and statistics soon, and beyond that it will be now be growth again,” the official added.
Arrivals in Zimbabwe are projected to trend around 2,3 million by the end of this year.
In 2019, there were 2,29 million arrivals.
Arrivals dropped drastically in 2020 because of COVID-19 as the country received 639 000 tourists.
Anald Musonza, Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) regional president, said the international market was slowly making its way back.
“We can see quite a beautiful comeback especially the international clients. We are very positive that we could see good growth,” he said.
During COVID-19 lockdown, the domestic market became key to tourism.
Musonza said the market has remained resilient and the future looked brighter as people were keen to travel in the wake of lockdowns.
He noted people were travelling in multi-generational groups.
“The mix of our market has improved and you can see that there is a market for every type of operation in Zimbabwe,” Musonza said.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) believes meetings and conferences are key to tourism recovery.
This aligns with the “Meet Zimbabwe Campaign” that was launched in 2021 to encourage business events, known as MICE, an acronym for meetings, incentives, conferences and events.
“ZTA is in the forefront of promoting MICE tourism,” Chief Operating Officer, Givemore Chidzidzi, said.
– CAJ News