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Tourist arrivals increase 17 percent

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ZIMBABWE recorded 404,282 tourist arrivals during the first quarter of the year, representing a 17 percent rise from the 346,299 recorded in 2012 a report released by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) revealed.
While all source markets registered growth, arrivals from Europe and Asia experienced significant increases due in part to the increased outbound trend especially in China and the softening of the Eurozone crisis.
Africa contributed 86 percent of the arrivals followed by Europe (8 percent), Asia (3 percent) and Americas (3 percent).  The Oceania and Middle East markets remain depressed with less than 2 percent of the arrivals into the country.
Mainland Africa continues to dominate the visitor numbers with 346,428 arrivals in 2013 up from 308,646 in 2012.
Whilst Zimbabwe receives a lot of arrivals in the region after South Africa, the report shows that they are mainly low spenders as the bulk of them are from mainland Africa compared to a basket of high spenders from overseas who are attracted by Islands such as Mauritius.
Overseas arrivals increased by 5 percent from 37,653 in 2012 to 57,854 in 2013. Overall, the trend is showing an upward increase in arrivals from this zone since 2010. 
“Despite the ongoing economic challenges especially in the western world (Europe and North America), performance of the overseas market is quite positive,” said the report.
South Africa continues to be the key source-market on mainland Africa with a market share of 49 percent which is a 6 percentage point increase from 43 percent in 2012.
“Although South Africa registered a relative growth of 28 percent, it should be noted that in absolute terms this is 37,294 which can be comparable to total arrivals from Mozambique during the same period,” said ZTA.
The report said there was a general increase from markets within the SADC region especially Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, and this was mostly attributable to regional trade and commerce as South Africa contributes 58 percent of Zimbabwean imports while 13 percent of Zimbabwe’s exports go to the continent’s biggest economy alone.
“It is however, sad to note that the continued unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen arrivals from the central African state falling by 20 percent shedding over a thousand arrivals in the period under review,” the report said.Advertisement

In spite of the sluggish growth in the United States, arrivals from this market increased by 4 percent during the period under review.  The US continues to be the leading market followed by Canada. These two alone command 93 percent of all North and South American arrivals into Zimbabwe.
China exhibited an impressive performance in the review period having registered a 165 percent increase.
“This mirrors the general increase in Chinese outbound in the first quarter (16%) although it should be noted that arrivals to Zimbabwe are a mere 0,02 percent of the 22,6 million Chinese outbound tourists in the first quarter of 2013. The Chinese trend is expected to continue on the rise well beyond 2020,” said ZTA.
“It is worth noting that China overtook Japan in terms of market share during the period under review.  This makes China the current largest Asian market for Zimbabwe. The rise of China is especially commendable considering that it is currently the world’s top tourism outbound and spending market,” said ZTA.
The UK continues to dominate other European markets with arrivals almost doubling from 24 percent in 2012 to 41 percent in 2013. The dominance of this market continues to show strong ties between the British and Zimbabwe.
“This is a possible return of UK as the largest overseas market for Zimbabwe as was traditionally known until 2005 when the United States took over. France, China and South Korea are some of the rising markets in the review period with France and China having gained rankings by 6 places apiece,” said ZTA.
Although there have been changes in the top ten overseas markets, there has not been any new entry or drop out among the markets.