Zimbabwe is failing to attract tourists from China because there is no direct flight between the two countries, an official has said.
“Last year, Zambia had 67 000 tourist arrivals from China, against 12 000 that came to Zimbabwe. This is because of lack of a direct flight from China to Zimbabwe. At the moment there is a direct flight linking China and Zambia and that is one of the factors that have seen tourists from the Chinese market shunning Zimbabwe,” China Business Network chief executive officer Adam Wu told delegates attending a workshop at the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel Expo.
Struggling national airline Air Zimbabwe ceased direct flights to Beijing and Guangzhou in 2011.
Chinese arrivals are reported to have plunged to 3 000 in the first half of 2013, according to Xinhua news agency.
Wu said China was the second largest economy in the world and it was critical for the players in the local tourism industry to market tourism products in Chinese language.
“Conveying messages in Chinese is crucial,” he said.
He said following the recent visit to China by President Robert Mugabe, the Asian country was ready to support Zimbabwe in different economic sectors that include, food, tourism as well as in setting up of special economic zones.
Tourist arrivals in the country increased by one percent to 867 163 in the first half of the year compared to 860 995 in the same period in 2013 with Europe – chiefly Germany and the United Kingdom — registering growth, according to the state tourism agency.
The first half figures put Zimbabwe’s 2014 tourist arrival target of 2.5 million, which would match the all-time high recorded in 1996, in serious doubt.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has said Zimbabwe expects tourism receipts to double to $1.8 billion by 2015.-The Source