HARARE – Chinese tourists into Zimbabwe grew 107 percent to 4,043 in the first quarter of 2016, up from 1,952 during the same period last year driven mainly by Chinese coming for business, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says.
According to the ZTA report, China was Zimbabwe’s second largest tourist source market in Asia during the period after Japan which led by 4,303 visitors. South Korea came third with 3,422 visitors.
In total, the country received 450,572 overseas visitors in the first quarter, a 16 percent growth from 387,557 recorded during the same period last year.
However, the tourism body decried the increasing number of overseas tourists that are not coming to Zimbabwe directly but are entering from neighboring countries such as Zambia and Botswana.
It said the visits to Zimbabwe were mostly just to view the Victoria Falls from the best vantage point, which is on the Zimbabwe side, with observations having revealed a pattern where tourists book in Livingstone, Zambia and then cross over to Zimbabwe for day trips.
Zimbabwe was now being considered as an add-on destination by most overseas visitors, the ZTA said, adding if the trend continued, it would further affect the performance of the tourism sector.
“It is well known that Zimbabwe presents the best viewing side of Victoria Falls, hence urgent interventions are needed to ensure a more even distribution of tourist arrivals with Zimbabwe’s two neighbours and competitors,” the ZTA said.
It urged Zimbabwe to review prices all round and put in place a competitive pricing model in order to compete effectively with regional competitors in attracting overseas tourists.
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls located along the Zambezi River between the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia, is Zimbabwe’s flagship tourist attraction.