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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Vic Falls angles to lure French tourists

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

A Victoria Falls based tourism company has signed up a Mauritius-based firm in a move expected to bring more French-speaking visitors into Destination Zimbabwe.

In its latest report, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) confirmed the positive turnaround in Zimbabwe’s tourism sector, with the latest world tourism barometer revealing that the country is increasingly becoming the most sought-after tourist destination.

Statistics also show that arrivals surged this year, with tourism receipts increasing from US$340 million last year to US$400 million as of the past eight months.
Various efforts to lure more non-traditional source markets will buttress existing arrival figures.

“In Europe there are several French speaking markets, France aside, and regionally – the likes of Mauritius and Reunion. We are aiming to widen our market appeal there and one needs to get access to the media and the travel trade to get the necessary exposure. We do currently have some French markets, but it’s less than we would like and it’s a big potential market. We intend to benefit from growth both in foreign independent travellers as well as the group and group series markets. Our leading supplier in the French market has more than doubled their room requirements for 2024 and this has given us the confidence to invest further, said Africa Albida Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ross Kennedy.

Tourism players are confident the partnership will bring the desired numbers.

“This is a very good initiative by the Africa Albida Tourism as it will definitely boost the tourism industry. Zimbabwe will benefit from these developments greatly as it will widen our tourism base and also attract more visitors. The industry, though greatly improved, is still recovering COVID-19 and such initiatives are needed to ensure that the tourism sector keeps thriving and growing. And this is what our economy needs, explained Tourism consultant, Tariro Nhau.

The tourism sector contributes 12% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and has also witnessed increased air connectivity, with the expansion of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport expected to attract more tourists.

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