HARARE- According the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometre, Africa consolidated its 2016 rebound with an 8% increase in arrivals in 2017. Effectively international arrivals to Africa for 2017 came in at a record 62 million with the growth largely driven by North Africa. North Africa enjoyed a strong recovery with arrivals growing by 13%, while in Sub-Saharan Africa arrivals increased by 5%.
The Source, an online business news service provider, last week reported that tourism arrivals to Zimbabwe stood at 2.1 million in 2017 which was 23.5% up from the 2016 outturn.
Zimbabwe’s strong outturn in 2017 which beat both regional and international performances is partly attributed to a scaled up airport capacity following the extension and refurbishment of Victoria Falls Airport.
The growth also came against an increase in new markets particularly from the region and a partial firming in regional currencies against the US dollar, notably the South African rand. Although the country’s performance was relatively strong in 2017 it came short of the targeted 2.3 million arrivals. Between 2018 and 2020 the sector is expected to grow at a much faster pace.
Elsewhere according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometre International tourist arrivals grew by 7% in 2017 to reach a total of 1,3 billion and this momentum is expected to continue in 2018 at a rate of between 4% and 5%.
UNWTO said this is well above the sustained and consistent trend of 4% or higher growth since 2010 and represents the strongest results in seven years. “Led by Mediterranean destinations, Europe recorded extraordinary results for such a large and rather mature region, with 8% more international arrivals than in 2016. Asia and the Pacific recorded 6% growth, the Middle East 5% and the Americas 3%” the body said
The report highlights that 2017 was characterised by sustained growth in many destinations and a firm recovery in those that suffered decreases in previous years.
Results were partly shaped by the global economic upswing and the robust outbound demand from many traditional and emerging source markets, particularly a rebound in tourism spending from Brazil and the Russian Federation after a few years of declines.