South Africans make up majority of foreign tourists streaming to Zimbabwe

Visitors checking into the Victoria Falls International Airport's rehabilitated domestic terminal. File Photo: Tami Walker
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Pretoria – As neighbouring Zimbabwe revives its extensive tourism sector in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, which almost dealt the industry a death knell, South Africa continues to provide the lion’s share of tourists to Zimbabwe.

eNCA reported that last year alone, almost 220 000 South African visitors toured Zimbabwe, which boasts world-famous attractions dotted across the country, including the breathtaking Victoria Falls.

“Predominantly, South Africa has always been the highest feeder as far as regional tourism is concerned, into Zimbabwe. It is great to see them again, maintaining that position,” Zimbabwe’s Tourism Authority (ZTA) head of corporate affairs spoke to eNCA in Zimbabwe.

“This is something that we are definitely monitoring and watching. We are certain that we will be increasing our efforts into South Africa.”

Tourists at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. File Picture: Cindy Waxa

Statistics seen by IOL show that the number of South Africans who toured Zimbabwe in 2022 increased by a bountiful 205 percent compared to the previous year.

Zimbabwe also recorded a boom in tourists from Botswana, Malawi, Angola, Mozambique and Zambia.

According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s statistics, a total of 693 281 tourists visited the country, and South Africa provided the lion’s share of 219 141 visitors.

eNCA also interviewed property magnate Kenneth Sharpe whose company, West Property Zimbabwe, is developing the $280 million (about R4.99 billion) Warren Hills Golf Estate.

West Property Zimbabwe chief executive Kenneth Raydon Sharpe. Photo: WestProp website

The ongoing work includes revamping the 18-hole golf club into a US Championship standard course and developing a lifestyle community that includes a tennis and swimming academy, residential units, a luxury hotel, and will host international tournaments.

‘’We have looked at tourism seriously because we are on the Hills Luxury Lifestyle Estate, that is where Warren Hills Golf Club is situated. It is an 18-hole golf club. We will be building a brand-new PGA-length Championship golf course,” Sharpe spoke to eNCA.

“We are investing over US$9 million in rehabilitating the golf course, and around the golf course will be 864 residences, with an ultra-luxury, five-star hotel.

“We believe in the future of Zimbabwe. So, the reason we are bringing modern, futuristic designs is because we are not looking at Zimbabwe today. We are looking at where Zimbabwe will be in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time. Our mantra is – bringing Dubai to Zimbabwe,” said Sharpe.

Last year, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned the modernised Beitbridge border post and said that all of the landlocked country’s borders would be upgraded to improve the quality of service in the transport sub-sector.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa officiating the the revamped Beitbridge border post. Photo: The Herald Zimbabwe

Mnangagwa was also quoted in The Herald newspaper as saying his government is committed to ensure that all major highways and feeder roads are “speedily modernised”, riding on the success of the highly-utilised Beitbridge-Harare road. – IOL