Tourism, which had become one of the country’s biggest foreign exchange earners before the land reform programme of 2000, is fast recovering but it could be slowed down by reports of invasions of tourist resorts around Harare by so-called war veterans.
According to the central bank tourist receipts for 2010 were up 23.5 percent from $52.7 million in 2009 to $65.1 million last year.
Tourist arrivals up to the third quarter of last year stood at 781 177 compared to 532 971 during the same period in 2009. Visitors at one time exceeded two million a year.
Hotel occupancy levels were up from 31 percent in 2009 to 39 percent while those for lodge rooms rose from 26 percent to 31 percent.
Zimbabwe has some of the best tourism attractions including the Victoria Falls, one of the seven owners of the World, the Great Zimbabwe and the Hwange National Park one of the foremost wildlife resorts with the widest variety of animal species.
The country, however, lost its coveted status after the land reform programme as several countries issued travel warnings for the national not to visit the country and several airlines pulled out. At one time 45 airlines flew into the country but this declined to less than ten.
The country was also losing millions of dollars through externalisation of funds especially before the introduction multiple currency system.
Incentives to boost tourism have also been abused resulting in the government scrapping them.