With the global media awash with Zimbabwe reports since the ouster of former President Mugabe in November last year, the new administration can now capitalise on that positive publicity to market the country as an attractive tourist destination.
Zimbabwe, which is known by many as the Jewel of Africa given its good climatic conditions, soils, nature and world wonder Victoria Falls, can be world’s best place if the authorities remove skeletons left in the cabinet by the prior administration.
The open door policy and removing too many roadblocks can boost tourist arrivals in the country.
Given the promising nature of the new administration to remove impediments, tourists’ arrivals are expected to surpass 2,5 million which is a 13 percent increase from last year’s 2,2 million.
According to industry reports, many hotels have reported an increase in occupancy rates during the festive season which is a sign for good things to come in 2018.
Hotel swimming pools were surrounded by flight crews seeking a tan in Zimbabwe’s perennial sunshine.
In December last year, Zimbabwe had seen the return of big spenders from traditional markets in Europe and North America who came to see if Zimbabwe is now a safe tourist destination.
One of the tourists from London who identified himself as Peter Carl, during his visit at Mwanga Lodge Game Park in Goromonzi, said Zimbabwe still has a lot of potential to revive the economy through tourism, but a lot of things need to be addressed to achieve that.
“When I see this country, I see a lot of potential in terms of economic revival, especially in the tourism sector where the country’s leadership can positively publicise, assure tourists safety and enabling environment, which can allow visitors to freely enjoy themselves.
“I came to witness the progress made after historic fall of old administration and I have realised that you can go as far as you want without any hindrances. When I came in 2014, I witnessed roadblocks after every 5km, which was not good for me but after the new President (Mnangagwa) invited the world to visit Zimbabwe, I was encouraged by it and I came.
“To be honest, I didn’t have a hope to come to Zimbabwe again that’s why I haven’t booked to go to Victoria Falls or Kariba or Hwange as I didn’t have confidence with the old administration but with new developments, I might as well visit the country again.
“I decided to come here at Mwanga Lodge as all other places where fully booked for the holidays,” said Carl.
Zimbabwe may regain the “golden triangle” — the London/Mauritius/Australia route, which delivered thousands of visitors including carefree backpackers into the Zimbabwean market.
Zimbabwe’s world-class facilities and attractions, particularly its game parks and Victoria Falls, saw a dramatic growth of the tourism industry over the years when new players entered the scene.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira vowed to change the face of tourism in the next few years by removing the old image that has been put by the old administration.
Government has lessened a number of roadblocks to enable people to travel freely.
President Mnangagwa’s open door policy and pro-Western stance is a game-changer to Zimbabwe’s tourism revival.
Zimbabwe’s most marketable products — its reliably sunny weather and its friendly, well-educated people — may encourage more visitors to come and bring back the country’s tourism back to healthy levels.