THE much-awaited Tour Africa New Horizon travel party which is expected to see Zimbabwe receiving about 350 tourists from China on a monthly basis has taken off.
The tour which is being facilitated by Touchroad International Holdings will see the Chinese tourists visiting Djibouti, Tanzania and Zimbabwe during the tour.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Zimbabwean Ambassador to China Paul Chikawa, during the sending off of the tour’s charter flight in China, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira said she is excited about the development.
“Today we are here to witness yet another milestone in our relationship that will see a historical group of over 343 Chinese business and leisure tourists taking off for the African journey that covers Djibouti, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is excited by the potential to attract over 10 000 visitors in a 5-year cycle which starts from today. Zimbabwe is open for business and ready to grow tourism and investments from China for the benefit of our two nations. Zimbabwe has already trained the local tourism industry to embrace the Chinese culture taking the market needs into consideration by partaking of the China Ready Certification Program.
“With the support from Touchroad and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, we have no doubt that our grand goal of increasing tourism arrivals from China will be achieved much earlier than 2025. This mega visit is very special in the history of tourism between our two countries as we have not received such a big group before. We are ready and committed to doing everything possible to make the stay of our visitors with us memorable one,” she said.
Zimbabwe is currently working on various fronts in a bid to increase arrivals from its biggest source markets and China is one of them.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, China has been the world’s largest source of outbound tourists and will continue to be so for many years to come.
Since its cooperation with Touchroad International Holdings, the country has seen an increase in Chinese tourists from 14 407 arrivals in 2017 to 19 428 in 2018.
In Zimbabwe, the tour’s itinerary will include the Great Zimbabwe National Monument and Victoria Falls among several other attractions in the country.
Minister Mupfumira said “we invite you to extend this tour series to get a full appreciation of Zimbabwe’s own wonders; our wonderful people and culture, our rich history and heritage, Pristine Wildlife and Nature, The Mythical Kariba and the mighty Zambezi, not forgetting the mountainous range of the Eastern Highlands in addition to Great Zimbabwe and the Victoria Falls.
“Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Zimbabwe is Open for Business and we are serious about the Chinese market. Zimbabwe will soon be opening a new Zimbabwe Tourist Office in Shanghai-China which will give us an active representation in this important market for our mutual benefit.
“Allow me at this juncture to wish the travelling party a wonderful and pleasant journey to the three countries that epitomise the beauty of Africa and say I look forward to receiving them in Zimbabwe,” she said-