‘Zim top 2017 African destinations’

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ZIMBABWE has been named the top African destination for 2017 by a renowned American travel magazine on the back of its tourism infrastructure despite the economic downturn.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

In its Best Places to Travel 2017 list, Conde Nast Traveler ranked Zimbabwe 13 out of the 17 listed destinations, one of two African destinations on the list.

The other being Rwanda at number 14.

Conde Nast Traveler is a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine published by Condé Nast in the United States.

“A new $150 million airport in Victoria Falls, capable of welcoming 1,5 million people a year aboard massive passenger jets, is only one of several reasons why Zimbabwe is on our 2017 list. The country is building up its tourism infrastructure despite — and, sometimes, in spite of — years of economic downturn and authoritarian governance,” Conde Nast Traveler said.

“The same resilience is on show in the country’s conservation efforts; there’s been a clampdown on poaching and biodiversity flourishes in Hwange National Park, the country’s largest game reserve. While everyone’s booking stays in the safari parks of Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, and South Africa, we recommend scouting for the Big Five in much less-crowded Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) head of corporate affairs Sugar Chagonda said getting such an endorsement would help market the country as an ideal tourism destination.

“We are very much excited and that has also added a lot of value in terms of marketing and we are looking forward to seeing lots of visitors coming to Zimbabwe. This endorsement gives us an edge in terms of marketing.

What we need to appreciate is that tourism is a sector that can only work when enabler service providers are coming on board. We cannot do it alone as ZTA,” he said.

Zimbabwe Council of Tourism president Tich Hwingwiri weighed in, saying: “Our role is to give a memorable experience to our valued guests and each player must excel in their respective areas in offering our warm Zimbabwean hospitality to ensure the endorsement becomes a total reality on the ground.”

He said airlines, restaurants, hotels, customs and taxi drivers all have a role to play in marketing the country as an ideal tourist destination.

“This creates a desire for potential visitors to consider Zimbabwe as part of their African tour,” Hwingwiri said.

The recommendation comes despite tourists complaining of increased costs following the introduction of a 15% value-added tax on foreign accommodation, increased roadblocks and overall pricing of the country compared to other regional countries.

This has made Zimbabwe an expensive destination.

Despite the endorsement, the recently released Zimbabwe Visitor Exit Survey Report 2015/16 showed that 9,8% of visitors came from Europe, while 5,7% were from the Americas.

Africa is the country’s biggest source market with 80,7% of visitors coming from the continent.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Issue licenses to airlines so places like Chiredzi, Masvingo and Eastern Highlands are accessible directly from outside Zim – SA in particular.

  2. Zim top 2017 African destinations’ to me this is an insult and self destructive , self praise. Being born Zimbabwean and now residing in South Africa i think telling the truth is required if we are to build and attract visitors.

    The issues affecting tourist are two basic fundamental of ubuntu which must start from the beuracratic border crossing of Beitbridge. Tourism is about service not a tangible commodity, addressing the boarder issues by streamlining the paper work and stop funding raising with traversal tourists who will experience first class service at OR Tambo upon touching down from UK. Zimbabwean police are law into themselves targeting foreign registered cars for easy pray for money.

    Then the infrastructure road and monitory system is a cause for concern. The Rand is exchanged for R14.00 on average per dollar at the bank but in Zimbabwe the exchange is manipulated to US1 to R19.50 which day light robbery.

    The biggest tourist who can boost the hotels in Zimbabwe are from Mzansi but due the politicising of everything in Zimbabwe just stop lying to yourself and be realistic. Change

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