Tuesday 24, April 2018 by Jessica Combes

Zimbabwe targets Middle East for tourist arrivals and tourism development


Zimbabwe has generated a lot of interest as a tourist destination ever since the inauguration of the New President for the Republic of Zimbabwe, CDE E. D. Mnangagwa on 24 November last year. 

This saw the proclamation by the President that “Zimbabwe is open for business”. 

True to his intonation, the President has emphasised that economics and trade cooperation rather than politics would be his priority in order to catch up with the region, adding that "Zimbabwe had lagged behind in many areas as a result of isolation for the past 18 years.”

One of the first positive actions taken by the new government was to relook at all the legislation that had been constraining investment inflows into Zimbabwe, putting supportive measures in place that seek to rebuild confidence and increase Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in order to revive the national economy. 

The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Hon. Priscah Mupfumira has led delegations to South Africa, UK and Germany, reengaging the travel and tourism industry worldwide with the same message. Following those missions, the Middle East is the next key market firmly targeted by Zimbabwe for engagement. 

Mupfumira will lead a tourism delegation to Dubai to attend the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), in an effort to promote the country and increase arrivals from the Asian and Middle East markets. During the show the Minister is set to meet with strategic decision makers including leading tour operators, airlines and other government officials. 

Tourist arrivals have increased from a mere 657 in 2003 to 3,148 in 2004 and only reached a peak in 2009 when 10,077 tourist arrivals were recorded. In 2017 the country recorded 7,537 arrivals, a 58 per cent increase from 4,783 arrivals recorded in 2016. 

Zimbabwe is now ready for the Middle East market, with access from Dubai via Emirates, Kenya Airways, Rwanda Air, South African Airways, and Ethiopian Airways. The destination offers a wide range of luxury accommodation options,natural attractions and myriad of activities for the Middle East market.

The country is also home to a Unesco World Heritage Site the ruined city of Great Zimbabwe, once home to as many as 20,000 people. The ruined city is made up of conical towers, columns and meandering stone walls at least five meters high. 

It is highly anticipated that the new image created by the new political dispensation will go a long way towards building confidence about destination Zimbabwe and will enhance an increase in tourist arrivals and investments in the near future, with the Middle East earmarked as a key region to help Zimbabwe achieve these goals.


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