Tourism is likely to grow by three percent in the second half of the year after rising by 12 percent in the first six months, with the outbreak of Ebola in west Africa seen reducing foreign travel to the continent, an industry official said today.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Ebola had now killed at least 2 793 people in five countries in west Africa and remains a “public health emergency of international concern.”
While the affected countries are Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone, fears remain about possible spread to other African countries.
Last week, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority said 15 buyers from Botswana had withdrawn from next month’s tourism expo while the African Marketing Summit scheduled for Victoria Falls, also next month had been postponed citing Ebola fears.
Some of the delegates were scheduled to come from countries that are grappling with the Ebola pandemic.
“Our fear is the effect of Ebola on travellers (and how it would affect tourism arrivals),” said Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe president, Tamuka Macheka.
Domestic tourism was unlikely to grow either because of Zimbabwe’s struggling economy, he added.
Arrivals increased by one percent to 867 163 in the first half of the year compared to 860,995 in the same period in 2013.
The ZTA said the growth was supported by the increase in arrivals from Germany and United Kingdom in particular.- The Source.