Oliver Kazunga/Nesia Mhaka, Business Reporters
ZIMBABWE’s tourist arrivals are projected to grow by a minimum of 10 percent by the end of 2019 from 2,6 million arrivals recorded last year, according to the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ).
In an interview after a Press conference organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) on the sidelines of the ongoing Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo in Bulawayo yesterday, TBCZ chief executive officer, Mr Paul Matamisa, said the Sanganai/Hlanganani Expo has been instrumental in spurring tourist arrivals growth in Zimbabwe among other promotional activities.
“While one cannot attribute the growth in Zimbabwe’s tourist arrivals to one event, we expect a minimum growth for at least a minimum of 10 percent on arrivals from the previous year,” he said.
“And Sanganai/Hlanganani, as you know, is one of our major showcasing windows. It also adds up to all those efforts the country is making to increase tourist arrivals.”
Mr Matamisa said the positive trajectory in Zimbabwe’s tourist arrivals began towards the end of the last half of 2017 and the trend was continuing this year. He said the movement in tourists was largely being noticed in areas such as Victoria Falls, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The TBCZ expressed optimism that regional and international buyers, as well as the media at this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo, would market Zimbabwe as a destination endowed with vast tourist attraction sites.
“This is where we show as a country what we have and are offering and it gives the world an opportunity to see and also experience.
“So, we are hoping after they have gone around, they will go back and put Zimbabwe on their travel journals which they write so that people can now know, understand and see that Zimbabwe is there and is providing very viable tourism business,” he said.
Zimbabwe has fully participated in other global tourism indabas in countries like South Africa and the Berlin World Tourism Fair. The tourism expo, which is in its 12th year-running, began at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo yesterday and ends tomorrow.
Earlier during the media conference, ZTA acting chief executive, Mr Givemore Chidzidzi, said the expo kicked off on a high note. He said the tourism authority was pleased with the turnout at this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo.
“Sanganai/Hlanganani has finally landed and I am very delighted to say that whatever we were projecting and planning has come to fruition. When we last met with colleagues from Harare, we had a press briefing about a week back and we were talking about people arriving and the buyers coming in,” he said.
“Indeed I’m sure you have now all got the evidence and the proof that we have got international buyers that are here, they have arrived.”
Mr Chidzidzi said they were still counting the number of buyers at this year’s tourism expo as the event has attracted hosted buyers and the non-hosted buyers.
“So far we have 170 hosted buyers including 25 international media. In terms of exhibitors, we managed to reach 290 exhibitors and we are still having people coming in inquiring to set up their stands.
Acting Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Kirsty Coventry, who is also the Minister of Sport, Arts and Recreation, is expected to officially open this year’s edition of the tourism fair today.