Zimbabwe’s tourism industry earned about 13 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2010 and is expected to grow by an average 6,9 percent annually “over the next decade”, an analyst from Imara Securities (Private) Limited said.
According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), currently led by Karikoga Kaseke, tourism earnings jumped 47 percent last year to US$770 million, while the number of visitors rose by 15 percent to 2,3 million.
“The tourism sector has the potential to be one of the fastest growing sectors in Zimbabwe’s economy, benefiting from the continued recovery in both global and domestic economic activity, and also on the back of targeted marketing strategies,” the stockbroker said.
He said tourism should be a priority area for Zimbabwe given its attractive destinations such as The Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe and Hwange.
“The sector generates greater employment than many other industries with relatively low skill levels, thereby spreading the benefits more evenly,” he said.
“It also does not require much in the way of import-intensive investment. However, considerable effort in terms of planning and alignment of priorities is required if the country is to repeat the successes seen elsewhere and return to prior peal levels.”
He said the longer-term potential of the tourism industry remained unquestionably encouraging as Zimbabwe has top resorts and the infrastructure is still relatively intact and grossly under-utilised.
“Occupancies for resort hotels have slowed to about 25 percent from their previous peak of about 75 percent recorded in 1995,” he said.
Most countries have now removed their travel warnings on Zimbabwe saying the economic and political situations had “greatly improved although more needs to be done by the Government of National Unity (GNU)”.