THE 343 Chinese tourists who are coming under the Tour Africa-The New Horizon Project which is being spearheaded by Touchroad International Holdings Group has arrived into the country.
The delegation who are the first batch of the 10 000 tourists earmarked under the project came aboard a chartered Air Ethiopian Airways and was received at the Robert Mugabe International Airport by Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira and other government officials.
Speaking at the Airport Minister Mupfumira said the arrival of the delegation is the beginning of the implementation of the agreed areas of cooperation with China.
“This historic visit highlights the yield of tangible results from the strategic comprehensive partnership emanating from the MOU signed between the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and Touchroad International Holdings Group in China during His Excellency, Cde Mnangagwa’s inaugural state visit in April 2018.
“The MOU was signed between the two friendly countries to cooperate in the field of tourism investment and promotion, and as we gather here today we are witnessing the implementation of the agreed areas of co-operation materialising in full,” she said.
Before coming to Zimbabwe the group went through Djibouti and Tanzania as part of the 10-Day African journey and Minister Mupfumira this is just the beginning and more such groups are coming.
“This is not a once off visit of such groups to Africa, we are expecting more groups coming to Zimbabwe, targeting about 10 000 Chinese arrivals through this initiative.
“Zimbabwe, as a tourism destination, has not been performing well in the Chinese market since the closure of the Zimbabwe Tourist Office in Beijing and the withdrawal of Air Zimbabwe flights in September 2011.
“These negative market developments saw tourist arrivals from China seriously declining from its peak of 30 549 arrivals in 2011 to 11 439 in 2018. Therefore partnering Touchroad, one of the leading investment companies in China, has the capacity to increase tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe from China, through the recently launched initiative.
“This partnership has a great potential to open many opportunities for Zimbabwe to grow the Chinese tourist market,” she said.
The China-Zimbabwe tourism engagement is one of the best opportunities for the country to further drive partnerships while marketing Zimbabwe as a destination of choice across multiple channels.
The Tour Africa-The New Horizon Tourism Project is among those opportunities meant to open the Chinese market to destination Zimbabwe. Tourism is one of the key pillars of economic revival in Zimbabwe having contributed $1.3 billion to the fiscus last year and is aiming to attain $1.5 billion.–