An agreement signed by Zimbabwe and China recently on mutual exemption of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and service passports came into effect this month, a Foreign Affairs official said Tuesday.
KAMPALA, Uganda - The number of foreign tourists who visited Africa in 2013 hit 65.1 million according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The UNWTO said this was another record year that saw a worldwide growth of 5% reaching a global tourists travel of 1,087 million compared to 1,035 million in 2012.
Presenting the findings in Kampala of the 2014 Africa Tourism Monitor, Beejaye Kokil, the Division Manager Economic and Social Statistics African Development Bank said the most popular African destination for international travellers was Morocco followed by Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
Morocco had 10.5million tourists who visited followed by Egypt who had 9.17million tourists. South Africa got 9.15 million tourists while Tunisia received 6.27million. Zimbabwe was fifth in Africa with 1.83million.
Africa’s share on the total global travel was only 6%. Europe topped with 565million international tourists having a share of 52% followed by Asia and the Pacific at 248 million tourists a 22.9% percentage representation.
North America had 110.5 million tourists (10.2%) while Central America, Caribbean, South America and Middle East were second last and last with 57.8 million international tourists (5.3%) and 39.6million international tourists (3.6%).
Tanzania was the best in the East African region in terms of direct employment as result of the tourism industry with 402500 jobs created in 2013 according to the UNWTO Tourism Monitor. Kenya came second with 226300 jobs. The Tourism Monitor didn’t show figures for Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Egypt topped on the African continent in terms of job creation from the tourism industry with 1,251,000 jobs created in 2013 followed by South Africa (645,500), Tanzania was third on the continent (402,500), Kenya (226,300), Madagascar (224,900) and Zimbabwe (43,600).
The World Tourism Organization projects that Africa’s international tourist arrivals will hit 134 million in 2030 which will see an increase of 106% over the 2013 figures.
According to Dr. Charles Lufumpa the Director Statistics at the African Development Bank, the rise will be triggered by an influx of new visitors from emerging economies in Asia, central and eastern Europe, all seeking to experience the cultural heritage, extraordinary wildlife and dramatic landscapes unique to the continent.
“In 2013 African economies grew at approximately 4% on average, compared to 3% for the world economy, with broad variations across different regions and income groupings,” said Lufumpa.
He said the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has drawn critical national and regional infrastructural challenges in the health and transportation sector.
Visitors are flocking to Victoria Falls in record numbers in a sure sign that Zimbabwe tourism is turning a corner, an industry leader says. Latest figures reveal hotel occupancy rates at Victoria Falls are hitting an all time high, sitting at 77.6 per cent last month, compared to 62.6 per cent during August last year. Ross Kennedy said the boom in tourists had impacted across all sectors, from 2 star to 5 star accommodation, and big hotels to exclusive boutique properties.
Most performance benchmarks, including revenue earned and visitor numbers, had been smashed during the month of August, Mr Kennedy said. “This is a sure sign that Zimbabwe tourism, and the destination are rapidly turning a corner, after three years of positive growth,” Mr Kennedy said. Nearly 13,000 more rooms have been sold so far this year, compared to the same period last year, an increase of 11.7 per cent, Mr Kennedy said. And last month alone close to 5000 extra – or 25 per cent more – hotel rooms were sold than during August last 2013. The figures are based on industry data across ten Victoria Falls hotels, including the Elephant Hills Hotel, Kingdom Hotel, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Hotel and the A’Zambezi.
Mr Kennedy, also chief executive of Africa Albida Tourism (AAT), said the surge in arrivals this year had culminated in August where all monthly records for flagship property, the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, had been broken since it opened in 1994. Occupancy at all four AAT properties – others are Lokuthula Lodges, Victoria Falls Safari Club and Victoria Falls Safari Suites – had been at over 80 per cent in August, Mr Kennedy said.The Boma Restaurant, one of the region’s busiest and a Victoria Falls “must do” for visitors, served more than 7,500 guests dinner in August, a new record of 830 more than any previous month, he said.
Bookings for the remainder of 2014 and 2015 were very healthy and the number of different countries where visitors are coming from is steadily growing, further enhancing demand and reputation, he said.The data showed most visitors to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge were from the United States, followed by Australia, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. “It all adds up to a bright picture ahead,” Mr Kennedy said.
“August results confirmed what we have believed for the last three years, that Victoria Falls is once again firmly establishing itself as an iconic tourism destination,” Mr Kennedy said. “These powerful statistics, all add up to enhancing the growing status of Victoria Falls, as a regional hub,” Mr Kennedy said.“A status that surely will be endorsed and sealed when the new Victoria Falls International Airport opens in mid 2015. “In comparison to current world tourism trends, these statistics are simply staggering, and a powerful reminder of the positive impact that a strong tourism industry can have on an economy.”
From : Atta