By Gift Mashoko
A delegation of 343 tourists from China who recently visited Zimbabwe to explore strategic alliances and business opportunities in the country has benefited the tourism sector close to US$350 mil.
The delegation was in Victoria Falls during the weekend where they had boat cruises on the Zambezi River, shopping at the kuma market, had lunch at the Boma and they also had dinner at the Elephant Hills on Sunday as they capped off their visit.
Their send-off ceremony was graced by several Government dignitaries including Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Prisca Mupfumira.
Their visit follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Touchroad International Holding Group and Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality during President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to China.
Commenting on the Chinese visit, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority head of corporate affairs Godfrey Koti said that apart from generating the much needed foreign currency the visit by the Chinese definitely consolidated Zimbabwe’s visibility to East Asia.
“The visit undoubtedly consolidated our visibility to East Asia, apart from also generating much needed foreign currency. The 343 delegation spent well over US$1000 each. We hope to maintain our top-of-mind brand status confirmed by the recent milestone in which we were named the third must-visit destination in the world by International Travel Guide, Lonely Planet,” he said
The tourism sector is chasing an ambitious three million visitors by end of year with China being the biggest source markets for tourism in the world. The group visit is expected to help market the country’s tourist attractions.
Tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe reached 2 579 974 in 2018, which is 6% up from 2 422 930 received in 2017. The tourists from China are the first batch of at least 10 000 tourists from the East Asian country expected to visit Zimbabwe in the next 5yrs.
The engagement offered Zimbabwe an opportunity to further raise its profile as an industry hub by showcasing new developments, destinations, offers and providing a platform for companies to network and do business.
With the expected number of tourists to Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe will surely reach the middle income status by 2030.