ENVIRONMENT, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira says government is taking all new tourism investment initiatives with China seriously as they are part of efforts to increase arrivals from that source market.
China is arguably the biggest source market for outbound tourists in the world and according to UNWTO; the Asian giant has maintained the status for a number of years.
However, despite Zimbabwe and China enjoying cordial relations, Harare has not benefitted much from this friendship in terms of tourism arrivals.
In 2018 Zimbabwe received about 11 439 Chinese tourists while 10 458 visited in 2017.
In a speech read on her behalf at the official launch of the Tour Africa-The New Horizon tourism program in Zheijang Province, China, Minister Mupfumira said she is looking forward to the success of the partnership with Touch Road International Holdings Group.
“However, destination Zimbabwe is very concerned about the few Chinese nationals that are coming to our beautiful country. Last year, Zimbabwe only received 11 439 tourists a far less number as compared to other African destinations.
“In 2017 Zimbabwe received only 10 458 Chinese tourists and this scenario calls for more efforts from all of us. Therefore our presence here confirms the seriousness the government of Zimbabwe is taking these new tourism initiatives to grow the tourism cake and investments from China,” she said.
Under the Tour Africa-The New Horizon tourism program, Zimbabwe is expected to receive about 350 Chinese tourists every month starting end of this March.
The Minister added that Zimbabwe is open for business and that Chinese people should come in their numbers to see for themselves the opportunities and the various attractions dotted across the country.
“We are looking forward that this partnership with Touch Road International Holdings Group should help Zimbabwe start receiving direct flights from China. This will widen business cooperation between Zimbabwe tourism operators and their counterparts here in China.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we would like to assure you of the full support from the Zimbabwe government and in particular our Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
“We seek to double the number of tourists coming from China within the next two years. We have no doubt that this historical journey we have started will help us achieve our desired goals for our sister nations,” she said.
Speaking at the same occasion Touch Road International Holdings Group chairman He Liehui said he is happy to see the project taking shape and the prospects of seeing his fellow Chinese citizens exploring Africa.
“I am happy that we are moving ahead with this project. I have spent a great amount of time in Africa and I would like to see my fellow Chinese people explore the beautiful continent of Africa.
“Tanzania, Djibouti and Zimbabwe are amazing destinations that offer phenomenal tourism activities. We are very grateful to the Zheijang Province for supporting this initiative,” he said.