Zim loses 1m SA visitors as rand depreciates


Zimbabwe has lost more than one million visitors from South Africa due to the depreciation of the rand against the United States dollar which has made the local market uncompetitive as a tourist destination.


Speaking at the ongoing 2016 Tourism Convention in Victoria Falls yesterday, Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi said: “Is US$ serving our best interests in the tourism sector because the statistics I am confronted with on my desk back in Harare are suggesting that we have lost actually a million visitors from the Republic of South Africa because of the battle of currencies between US$ and rand?”

He added: “The one million people should have come to Zimbabwe, but they didn’t do so because of the battle of the rand against the US dollar. Should we continue losing more tourists? I will leave that to you to decide.”

Walter Mzembi etched Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi

In his monetary policy statement, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya said government should incentivise the use of rand and Chinese yuan since the highest number of tourists were coming from South Africa and China.

The tourism convention, which ends today, was organised by the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism to support Mzembi’s ambitious $5 billion tourism economy by 2020.


  1. The problem is real and very serious. The depreciation of regional currencies against the USD is killing Zimbabwean Tourism and all exports. The country will earn less and less forex from its exports and inward tourists. The use of the USD was a solution to eradicate hyperinflation but now is killing the country’s forex capacity. Zimbabwe cannot control the USD exchange rate and neither can it the exchange rates of regional currencies. That is dilemma. All we can do is to hotel tax and make it slightly cheaper for tourists and think of other incentives to lure tourists to Zimbabwe.

    • Stand to agree with your comment. What I deem ideal is since Zim, SA and China intertrade ……its best Zim adopts the Rand as an official trading currency though the solution has some demerits at individual level as it affects some informal sectors it however does work for sustainable growth of the economy.

  2. With hindsight Zimbabwe should have adopted the South African Rand as a settlement currency in 2009. The timing to join the Rand Monetary Area (RMA) is not now. Zimbabwe would not meet RMA criteria now and the RSA govt would not accept the Zimbabwe risk now. Zimbabwe would need to first solve their toxic issues such as debt, fiscal deficits, forex reserves, politics etc. Tough times ahead of us!

  3. Only a fool can believe the economy of absurdity currently prevailing in the Zimbabwe jigsaw. Where on earth have you seen the country with a weakest economy within a regional grouping having a strongest currency. Wither bookish economics!!!!!!!

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