The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says the country still remains a safe tourism destination despite protests that engulfed Harare’s central business district recently.
By Freeman Makopa
In a statement yesterday, authorities said the situation had stabilised.
“ZTA would like to inform all valued tourists from both the domestic and international markets that, notwithstanding the post-election violence witnessed on August 1, 2018 in the capital city, Harare, Zimbabwe remains a safe destination for any travel.
“The incidents of protests that occurred in parts of the CBD and the south eastern areas of the capital city were quickly brought under control through the timely intervention of the police, with the assistance of the army,” the statement read.
Authorities urged travellers to conduct their business activities freely as the situation had normalised.
“Tourism thrives in a peaceful environment and as such, ZTA does not condone any form of violence at all and joins the rest of the nation and international community to condemn the perpetrators of violence in the strongest terms.
“We would like to urge all travellers to Zimbabwe and those currently in the country to conduct their business deals as the situation is back to normal. Leisure travellers are, therefore, happily advised to stay calm and enjoy their experiences.”
Tourism has contributed 11% to the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the authority’s National Tourism Sector Strategy.
Zimbabwe is seeking a seven-fold growth in tourism export earnings — as much as $7 billion by 2030 — to be achieved through effective marketing, product development as well as through facilitation and access mechanisms.
The strategy projects arrivals of seven million in this year from 2,42 million arrivals recorded last year.
Plans are also afoot to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP to $8,1 billion from the current $2,5 billion.
This is up from an initial plan to grow the industry to a $5 billion GDP contributor.
Analysts, however, say the anticipated growth in arrivals was no easy task, considering that the country is an add-on destination because it is largely unattractive. For instance, 30,4% of the visitors on holiday packages do not spend a night in Zimbabwe, while 58,9% of those who stay spent just two to three nights in the country.