Zim aims to boost tourism earnings

HARARE - Zimbabwe is set to make about $7,5 billion annually from Chinese tourists after the two countries signed a tourism Memorandum of Understanding (Mou), a cabinet minister said recently.

Walter Mzembi, Tourism minister, told Parliament Wednesday the country was looking into signing an MoU with China to capitalise on the large tourist volumes from the Asian country.

“On average we have established that the Chinese are spending $1 500 per visit. What those five million tourists would translate to is US$7,5bn every year in terms of tourism expenditure in Zimbabwe,” Mzembi said.

He also said his ministry was pursuing an affirmative policy with the Chinese, by asking them to upgrade Zimbabwe from a Preferred Destination Access Agreement. Annually, about 100 million tourists travel out of China and Zimbabwe is targeting five percent of them, which loosely translates to around five million arrivals.

According to Mzembi, the MoU will be specific on what Zimbabwe wants in terms of visit arrivals.

The Sadc region, on average, receives between 70 000 and 80 000 Chinese tourists annually.

Despite strong ties between Zimbabwe and China, the country only receives around  5 000 Chinese tourists per annum, with the rest flocking to Zambia, South Africa and other countries in the region including Mozambique.

“It is however, extremely unfortunate that Zimbabwe, which prides itself as an all-weather friend of the Chinese is only receipting just over 5 000 tourists,” said Mzembi.

Last year, the Chinese overtook the Germans in being the highest tourism source market for the world, with 98 million outbound Chinese travellers spending $140 billion in the countries they visited.

Mzembi told parliamentarians the future in tourism belongs, in terms of growth strategy, to the BRICS countries, with China and India in the lead

“If you benchmark the Niagara Falls to the Victoria Falls, you will see where the opportunity lies.

The Niagara Falls which is just one-third of what the Victoria Falls is, receipts on an annual basis, between 14 and 18 million tourists, 70 percent of whom are Chinese and Indians.

“In that estimation they are spending $30 billion whilst the Victoria Falls, a natural wonder of a higher magnitude receipts just under one million tourists and $1billion income,” he said.

He said the opportunity is $29 bn in receipts and over 15 million in visitors, and also appealed for a revision of Zimbabwe’s visa regime.

    Comments (2)

    all the dogs will disappear

    enock sebele - 22 July 2014

    that's where it will end...sign a MOU...chinozobudapo hapana except kufutisa homwe dzavo....at least they should not tell us about their private money making initiatives

    lolo - 22 July 2014

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