Zimbabwe’s Tourism Sector Soars with $724M Receipts Despite Investment Dip

Zimbabwe Witnesses Significant Tourism Growth, Aiming for a $5 Billion Economy by 2025

by Adenike Adeodun

Zimbabwe’s tourism sector has experienced a remarkable upswing, with receipts climbing nearly 18% to reach $724 million in the nine months leading up to September 30, 2023.

According to a report by Newsday, Barbara Rwodzi, the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, highlighted this growth at the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) annual congress in Nyanga last week. She noted the sector’s recovery in the post-COVID-19 era, driven by combined efforts from the industry and government support.

Despite the surge in tourism receipts, from $615 million in 2022 to $724 million in 2023, investments in the sector saw a significant drop. From $306.7 million in 2022, the figure plummeted to $139.3 million in 2023. Rwodzi emphasized the ministry’s focus on a robust strategy to foster a stronger rebound in tourism and hospitality.

The sector’s growth is traditionally driven by the ‘Tripod of 3As’: access, accommodation, and activities. While there’s an uptick in activities, the decline in investment poses a risk to future growth.

Rwodzi underscored the importance of these investments in making Zimbabwe a must-visit destination. The goal is to build a $5 billion tourism economy by 2025, in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1) and the National Vision 2030.

Challenges remain in making the tourism package more appealing. The sector must increase occupancy rates and extend visitors’ stays to stimulate growth. Currently, tourism and hospitality contribute 4.25% to the national GDP and 2% to national employment.

To enhance the sector’s GDP contribution, the Ministry is developing the ‘Doctrine for Tourism Promotion and Development’. This strategy focuses on leveraging Zimbabwe’s heritage and aligns with the Tourism Act [Cap 14:20], targeting domestic, regional, and international markets.

The vision is to establish Zimbabwe as a prime tourist destination, adhering to international best practices. The Ministry’s strategy pillars include policy and administration, tourism development, and tourism promotion.

Part of this strategy involves transforming tourism categories into various ‘clusters’ like rural, sports, religion, business, culture and customs, wildlife, and holidaying. These clusters are expected to diversify and enrich the tourism experience in Zimbabwe.

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