HARARE, June 12 (The Source) – Tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe shot up six percent to 479,718 in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year buoyed by a five percent increase in visitors from mainland Africa, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has said.
Between January and March last year, 450,572 tourists visited the country.
“Arrivals from mainland Africa registered 400,290 foreign tourist arrivals up from 380,790 in 2016 representing a 5 percent increase. The region continues to command the bulk of arrivals (84 percent) into Zimbabwe. The stagnation of arrivals from South Africa, the country’s major market is of major concern as the market is Zimbabwe’s major market,” said ZTA in its 2017 first quarter tourism performance report.
Arrivals from Oceania were up 26 percent to 5,840 though it accounts for only one percent of the market share.
Visitors from Europe rose by 29 percent to 35,381 from 27,433, with increases in most major markets including United Kingdom (132 percent), France (76 percent) and Germany (8 percent).
“The increase in European arrivals is a positive development considering the fact that this region closed with an 18 percent decline in 2016. The European market share stood at 7 percent and is second only to Africa, thus Europe, remains as the greatest overseas market for the country,” said ZTA.
Tourist arrivals from the Asian market declined by 4 percent from 14,004 to 13,385. The Americas contributed 23,297 arrivals, three percent up from 22,620 during the comparable period last year.
Meanwhile, the ZTA said average hotel room occupancy rate increased from 36 percent in 2016 to 38 percent.
Zimbabwe received 2.1 million tourists the whole of 2016, earning the country $890 million.