Upswing for Zimbabwe Tourism

by SA Tourism news
(23rd February 2011)

According to influential tourism body, World Travel & Tourism Council, Zimbabwe’s tourism economy is set to grow 9.2% this year, making it the third fastest growing tourism economy in the world.

According to Ross Kennedy, Chief Executive of Africa Albida Tourism (AAT), “This is one of many positive indicators that Zimbabwe tourism is on a steady revival path after a faltering past decade. There was a perceptible momentum in changing fortunes in 2011, backed by hard statistics, and 2012 has seen that pace quicken with ‘good news’ stories coming in a steady stream.”

Africa Albida Tourism has embarked on a US$2.7 million construction of an exclusive 20-room wing, the Induna Club, and will also spend $300,000 on refashioning the public areas of the award-winning Victoria Falls Safari lodge.

A number of industry players in Victoria Falls are also showing their confidence in the industry by undertaking similar projects to cope with the international upswing. The Victoria Falls Airport is being modernised and enlarged, Emirates has commenced its five-times-a-week schedule from Dubai to Harare via Lusaka to open up the Middle East to Zimbabwe, a modern conference centre and tourism ‘plaza’ will be constructed at the Victoria Falls and will be completed by August 2013 and South African Airways has dramatically increased its capacity to Zimbabwe by 66% by introducing a daily A330-200 flight (222-seats) from Johannesburg to Harare and more seats to Victoria Falls.

In 2011, tourism earnings increased by almost 50% to 2.3 million visitors, and most hotels in the Victoria Falls region recorded increased occupancies. Arrivals into Victoria Falls grew by 19.6% in 2011 versus 2010, with growth from existing markets, plus increased interest and arrivals from new markets such as Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Tourism in other parts of Zimbabwe is also growing. Sharon Stead, Marketing Director and co-owner of The Amalinda Collection, reported that Camp Amalinda had a record year in 2011 achieving 75% occupancy and Ivory Lodge, Hwange, recorded its best month ever in August last year with 87% occupancy.

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