In a bid to boost international tourist arrivals, Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is looking to further tap into the BRICS market. Traditionally, the country’s major source markets have been the Americas (particularly the United States of America) and the European Union.
In a presentation to the Zimbabwe Defence College in Harare, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Dr Walter Mzembi underscored the need to diversify into other markets where there is growth potential.
“The growth of tourism is not where it was traditionally. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa . That is where we are seeing growth as Zimbabwe tourism,” the minister said.
“We need to exploit the BRICS, but there are areas that we need to address in order to exploit the BRICS opportunity,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is targeting to grow into a $5 billion revenue sector by 2020 and contribute 15 percent to gross domestic product.
According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority preliminary report to June 2016, Zimbabwe’s tourist arrivals from China — a member of the BRICS — alone grew 32 percent in the first half of 2016.
Overall tourist arrivals grew 16 percent to 450,752 during the first quarter of 2016 compared to 387,557 during the same period last year.
Minister Mzembi said ‘tourists should be harnessed as tools for diplomacy because they actually correct the perception, they will be able to see these images and will tell the world that it is actually peaceful here.’