Tourism is Zimbabwe’s third largest sector after mining and agriculture and has the potential to play a significant role in Zimbabwe’s economic recovery.
Zimbabwe has several national parks and natural attractions such as Hwange, Mana Pools, and Gonarezhou National Parks, Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba, and the Great Zimbabwe National Monument.
Statistics from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) show that tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe fell by 40 percent in 2021, to 375,799 from 630,369 in 2020, due to continued impacts from COVID-19.
Most visitors came from within Africa and the Middle East while the country registered declines in arrivals from Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Asia.
The GOZ estimates the tourism sector generated US$397 million in 2021 compared to US$360 million recorded in 2020.
In recent years, the government supported capital investment in the tourism sector by providing tax incentives and duty-free status on imports for certain categories of capital goods for hotels, restaurants, and safari operators. Wildlife photo and hunting tourism also offer enormous growth potential, but some wildlife conservancies had difficulty obtaining trophy hunting licenses from the government due to political maneuvering by individuals attempting to take ownership of the conservancies’ land in the guise of indigenization. U.S. law also prohibits the importation of elephant trophies into the United States.
Relatively low real estate prices in Victoria Falls offer opportunities in the construction of hotels and lodges. Furthermore, the designation of Victoria Falls as a Tourism Special Economic Zone and International Financial Center should attract much needed investments. Additionally, the government lengthened the runway at the Victoria Falls airport to accommodate all varieties of jumbo jets and created a new passenger terminal. That stated, the infrastructure (road, rail, water, telecoms, and energy) is outdated and in need of rehabilitation.
As the world moves towards sustainable tourism, there are opportunities to offer specialized training on this subject as well as direct investment in eco-travel and adventure travel businesses. ZIDA also identifies opportunities in the construction of conference and convention centers, resorts and casinos, and shopping malls. Many of Zimbabwe’s lodges cater to high-end, luxury tourists, but should the volume of visitors increase, opportunities to develop locations serving the middle-class market will grow.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
55 Samora Machel Ave, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 779 212 289