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Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is bracing itself for anticipated growth in business, though it continues to face many challenges, especially in the areas of regulation, access to foreign currency and low turnout of high-spending travellers from traditional tourism markets like Europe, North America and the Middle East.

The industry has been in steady decline in the past 6 years, seeing its annual revenue decline from over US$700 million in 1999 to less than US$100 million in 2005. This has been partly due to the high rate of inflation (currently 1,200 per cent) and persistent fuel shortages.

However, despite the challenges, players in Zimbabwe’s tourism industry are going against the odds and aggressively marketing their facilities, with many remaining above the national occupancy average of below 49 per cent. Although resorts like Kariba, Nyanga and Great Zimbabwe Ruins have been affected by the decline in business, Victoria Falls has remained a regional and global favourite.

Between the Lines