(Zimbabwe) Tourist arrivals at
Zimbabwe’s prime resort, Victoria
Falls have plunged to below 85% on average in 2015 compared to
last year’s numbers due to the introduction of the value added tax (VAT) and
depreciation of regional currencies, an official has said.
Employers’ Association of Tourism and Safari Operators president, Clement Mukwasi, told NewsDay that tourist arrivals in
Victoria Falls were
expected to fall to below 85% compared to last year in the same
period. “We are expecting to achieve below 85% of last year’s figures on
average,” Mukwasi, who is an executive of the Shearwater Adventures Group,
said. He said the numbers of tourist arrivals were declining as regional
currencies were weaker, making
more expensive compared to its neighbours. Zimbabwe
“You will find out that tourists from these countries, such as
, prefer to go to
countries with weaker currencies than theirs,” he said. South Africa
Tourism players are still crying foul over the introduction of VAT on foreign tourists’ payments for accommodation and tourism-related services.
The move has been described as “not intelligent” by Tourism minister Walter Mzembi, as it makes the country an expensive destination.
The industry is also on the recovery path, following the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa last year, which saw
losing business worth $6 million in 2014, according to the Zimbabwe Tourism
According to a report by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), Zimbabwe’s overall tourist arrivals were at 930 276 in the first six months of 2015, compared to 876 163 registered in the corresponding period last year boosted by mainly South African visitors.
Mukwasi remained optimistic that next year would be better than 2015, as they had introduced a number of measures to keep the industry moving such, as three-tier approach system.
Meanwhile, Mukwasi commended the move by the government to declare
Falls a tourism special economic zone, as it would have positive
effects in addressing liquidity challenges in the country and revives the
He said the declaration would facilitate entry of new players bringing competitiveness into the industry. Mukwasi said it was not only the tourism sector that would benefit from such a move, but also some players in the banking sector.
Addressing delegates at the just-ended Local Government Economic Development Forum 2015 in
Bulawayo on Wednesday, ZTA chief executive officer,
Karikoga Kaseke said Victoria Falls needed
about 1 000 more rooms by 2020.
He said the country has become a transit route, as last year about 600 000 tourists passed through
Zimbabwe to . South Africa
Kaseke urged the government to build a mall in
Source: Victoria Falls tourist arrivals slump (18/12/15)