Harare (New- Ziana) – Tourist arrivals declined by 40 percent to 375 799 in 2021 as a result of Covid-19, a senior government official said on Thursday.
Officially launching the country’s first Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry deputy Minister Barbra Rwodzi, said visitors to Zimbabwe had been decreasing since 2019.
“The Zimbabwe Tourism Satellite Account is coming in at a time when the Tourism Sector is facing severe challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected not just Zimbabwe alone but the globe as a whole,” she said.
“With this advent, the country witnessed a decline in tourist arrivals from 2 294 259 in 2019 to 630 369 in 2020. The negative trend further continued in 2021 as arrivals suffered a further down fall of 40 percent to 375 799.”
The tourism satellite account is an internationally recognised tool which is used to account for the performance of the tourism sector in a given economy.
Rwodzi expressed hope that the new tool would assist the country to measure the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on tourism.
“It is my sincere hope that the TSA we are launching today will help us with an important benchmark to use in measuring the tourism impact during and after the Covid-19 era and make it easier to compare our performance with other countries that have long adopted this tool,” she said.
Rwodzi said with the tourism satellite account in place, there was a need to undertake periodic surveys to sustain the momentum.
“Now that we have the Zimbabwe TSA in place, there is need to sustain the system through undertaking periodic surveys such as the Visitor Exit Survey and the Domestic and Outbound Tourism Survey to build on this framework that we have put in place.
“Going forward, it is therefore imperative for us to embrace modern technologies in data collection to ensure timeous availability of information to update the Tourism Satellite Account,” she said.
She said the TSA report revealed that there is low consumption of domestic tourism.
“We are cognizant of the low consumption of domestic tourism and we need to do more to champion increased internal tourism.
“Working together with the private sector and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority we must redouble efforts to promote domestic tourism under our Zimbho Domestic Tourism Campaign in a manner that takes everyone on board, and let me add on to say ZimBho campaign i has risen our numbers for domestic tourism and we will continue working hard on that front,” Rwodzi said.
She said another key input from the TSA report is the glaring fact that most people are not using formal accommodation when they visit the country.
“I urge the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to intensify efforts to clamp down on all unlicensed tourism players countrywide so that we close these leakages. Every Tourism business must contribute to our National Economic Accounts hence the chase and the clamp down,” she said.