17 November 2009

Zimbabwe: Tourists Returning to Country

The Zimbabwe Council of Tourism says the number of tourists has more than tripled, but the sector's full recovery will be linked to the success of the unity government.

Council president Emmanuel Fundira says 362 000 people had visited Zimbabwe by August compared to 100,000 in 2008.

The sector got a boost when several Western countries lifted travel warnings after the formation of the unity government.

Tourism revenues were an estimated $250 million a decade ago but dropped to $40 million in 2005. The revenue has however risen to $100 million since the formation of the coalition government.

Tourism has been touted as one of the first sectors poised to recover as international arrivals increase. It is however in need of recapitalization, with investment opportunities existing in the construction of hotels and lodges, and in operating tourist facilities.

The government has put in place a generous tax regime for tourism investors, especially those operating in areas designated as Tourism Development Zones.

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