Hopes that the World Cup of soccer taking place next door in South Africa might bring a deluge of tourists have not been fulfilled, but the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority says activity in the sector expanded by a healthy three percent in 2009, the best results in decade, and that the outlook is very positive for 2010 on Cup spillover trade.
The tourism authority said however that the improved political environment in Zimbabwe was the main factor in the increased tourist traffic last year as a national unity government was installed in Harare following a wave of deadly violence during 2008 elections followed late that year and in early 2009 by a major cholera epidemic.
Tourism accounted for six percent of Zimbabwe's gross domestic product last year with a value of US$524 million. The industry is projected to surge by 15 percent over the next two years if politics does not intervene.
Tourism consultant Zifiso Masiye said the World Cup could help. ‘We expect World Cup spin-offs to boost tourism in Zimbabwe which has traditionally been a favorite tourism destination for international visitors,” Masiye said.