The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is leading a high-powered tourism industry delegation to promote Zimbabwe at the world’s leading travel fair, International Tourism Bourse (ITB) which takes place in Berlin, Germany, from today until March 13, 2016.
Among the tourism industry stakeholders participating at ITB Berlin are Africa Albida Tourism, Falcon Safaris, African Sun Limited, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe, Shearwater Adventures, Rainbow Tourism Group, Amalinda Collection, African Bush Camps, Zimbabwe Travel Info, Musangano Lodge, Nyati Travel, and Sikiliza.
Speaking about Zimbabwe’s participation at ITB, among other must-attend planned international travel fairs this year, the ZTA Chief Executive, Mr. Karikoga Kaseke, emphasized the need for continuous investment into travel fairs if Zimbabwe is to realize tourism growth in arrivals and revenue.
He said in comments just received from Harare prior to his departure for Germany: “Travel fairs continue to be a significant and competitive tool for destination marketing and promotion for any serious destination eyeing tourism growth. Our participation at ITB 2016 is a positive move for destination Zimbabwe given our absence at last year’s edition.”
Germany is one of the world’s largest outbound travel markets with 76 million travelers, and over half the German population takes at least one holiday abroad each year. According to latest data from IPK International, Germany topped global outbound markets in 2015 followed by the USA, UK, and China. In UNWTO’s 2015 Tourism Highlights, Germany ranks 3rd in tourism expenditure, with a total of $92.2 billion, after China and the United States. The market is known for a high spending averaging of US$2,100 per person, per trip.
Germany contributes a massive 18% of European arrivals into Zimbabwe and ranks 3rd after the United States of America and the UK, contributing 26,355 arrivals last year. This, however, is a far cry from the 76,000 Germans who arrived back in 1999 when Zimbabwe’s tourism was at its peak.
The Authority is confronted with a challenge to sooner or later again surpass the 1999 arrivals by achieving 100,000 arrivals from the German market by 2020. This target is in line with the National Tourism Blueprint called: “Towards A $5 Billion Economy by 2020.”
The resilience of tourism operators in standing shoulder to shoulder with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s promotional activities is encouraging, as they are ready to deliver and satisfy the revived interest in Zimbabwe from the German market.
Speaking of their first time participation at ITB, Falcon Safaris’ Managing Director, Hamilton Mandizvidza, was positive on being accorded an opportunity to consolidate efforts invested by all the tourism industry players in signing up new business as well as reassuring both suppliers and clients who have continued to believe in Zimbabwe.
The recently-opened airport extension at Victoria Falls, one of Zimbabwe’s showcase tourism attractions, aims to receive thousands of additional tourists this year flying either directly or via Harare to see the world’s largest waterfalls and the ancient ruins of Great Zimbabwe, besides the national parks, and offers a spectacular vacation setting.
Zimbabwe will in June once again showcase its attractions at home during the annual Sanganai Tourism Fair, this year held in the country’s second largest city of Bulawayo.