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Zimbabwe Re-brands, Records Upsurge in Tourist Arrivals

Victoria Falls
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority says there was a 12% increase in tourist arrivals in the country in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year.

ZTA chief Karikoga Kaseke says this was largely due to the 'successful rebranding' of the country and its tourist destinations by the authority.

He says the number of tourist arrivals increased from 767,301 last year to 859,995 in the first half of this year.

Kaseke said his organisation is exploring new strategies to attract tourists from other countries other than their traditional markets, which include America, Asia and Europe.

"We were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected increase of tourists from China and Japan, which had taken a deep last year, but rebounded tremendously this year. We are exploring strategies to increase our non-traditional markets," said Kaseke.

A report published by the ZTA Friday shows hotel room occupancy has also increased by 2% from last year.

The increases were most notable in Victoria Falls and Midlands. Nyanga and Bulawayo recorded a slight increase in tourist arrivals compared to the other two tourist destinations.

Kaseke says the country also recorded a significant increase in business conferences that also drove hotel room occupancy by the domestic market.

The ZTA, said Kaseke, is currently working on new packages aimed at promoting domestic tourism in the country.

"We are working tirelessly to ensure that we come up with packages that are attractive for our home grown tourists and also Zimbabweans in the Diaspora," said Kaseke.

The ZTA report says the July elections had no significant effect on the number of tourist arrivals unlike in previous years were huge declines were witnessed around polls.

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