MASVINGO – Tourist arrivals at Great Zimbabwe Monuments continue to spike with the World Heritage Site having received 40 000 visitors since the beginning of this year.
The number of visitors so far is 5 000 more compared to tourists who came to Great Zimbabwe during the same period last year.
According to information from the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe the majority of the visitors came from South Africa.
NMMZ Masvingo regional director Lovemore Mandima yesterday said the increase in arrivals could be attributed to the changing perception on the country by the world due to aggressive marketing spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
“A total of 42 252 tourists visited the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage Site between January and August this year. The figure represents an increase of 5 111 from 37 141 tourist arrivals recorded during the same period last year,” said Mr Mandima.
The NMMZ regional head said out of the arrivals,4 345 were non-resident tourists compared to last year where 4 304 visited the monuments.
“Most of the foreign tourists are from South Africa which is the largest source of foreign visitors to the World Heritage Site.
“We also recorded 37 907 domestic tourists that include schools which visited the heritage site this year as compared to last year’s 32 837,” he said.
Mr Mandima said school visits had increased after the advent of the revised curriculum which encouraged heritage learning.
He said ZTA and NMMZ exhibited at platforms such as Sanganai/Hlanganani Tourism Expo, Harare Agricultural Show and Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.
“We also utilise the schools outreach programme where they visit our heritage sites. The Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry also plays pivotal role in putting our heritage sites on the global map.”
Zimbabwe attracted more than 2,4 million tourist arrivals in 2017, representing a 12 percent increase from the previous year. This is being attributed to thawing relations between the country and the West after the birth of the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa.
Late last year,Government, through ZTA launched the Community Tourism Enterprise Manual and Handbook meant to guide the tourism sector up to 2035.