Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Tourist arrivals up 17pc

ZIMBABWE recorded a 17 percent rise in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2013 with all major markets registering increases in the number of people visiting the country. Tourist arrivals in the quarter stood at 404 282 up from 346 299 in 2012. According to a Tourism Trend and Statistics Report released by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority on Monday, the increase in arrivals was clearly a witness to the country’s improved destination image.

The report noted that while all markets registered growth, arrivals from Europe and Asia experienced significant increases which have been, to an extent, due to the increased outbound trend especially in China and the softening of the Euro zone crisis with UK and France contributing significant increases in arrivals to Zimbabwe.

“The ever increasing regional trade and commerce also contribute immensely to the growth through indirect transiting tourists and business tourists as shown by the current 40 percent increase in business tourists and 65 percent increase in shopping tourists,” reads part of the report.

“The market share for the overseas arrivals stood at 14 percent up by 3 percentage points from 11 percent in 2012. The overall arrivals from overseas rose by 54 percent on the backdrop of exceptional increases from Europe and Asia with UK, France and China specifically registering outstanding performances. All overseas regional markets registered increases. Europe contributed 54 percent of the overseas arrivals followed by Asia with 20 percent of the overseas market share.”

The report said there was a general increase from markets within the Sadc region especially Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, and this was mostly attributable to regional trade and commerce within the region.

“It is, however, sad to note that the continued unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen arrivals from the Central African state falling by 20 percent, shedding over a thousand arrivals in the period under review.”

The report further states that average hotel room occupancy levels remained stagnant at 46 percent while average hotel bed occupancy levels rose slightly from 34 to 35 percent.

As for lodges, the report noted that average room occupancy levels experienced growth from 42 to 44 percent in 2013 while average bed occupancy levels also rose from 30 to 35 percent.

“Research has shown that while leisure tourism is still in its infancy in the country especially among the locals, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions activities continue to drive performance in most regions save for Kariba and Victoria Falls which are dominated by leisure travel.”

Source: Tourist arrivals up 17pc (11/06/13)

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