Good tourism year for Zimbabwe – despite inflation

Zimbabwe, struggling with inflation rates as high as 300 percent, recorded its best ever tourist year, particularly in the Victoria Falls region. The opening of Victoria Falls International Airport in western Zimbabwe finally seems to be paying off.

OSY reports that visitors spent a total of 250,000 nights at the 10 Victoria Falls hotels surveyed for the Africa’s Living Soul report, up 30 percent from 2015. The data from Africa’s Living Soul report indicate that, after mining and agriculture, tourism is the biggest contributor to the country’s economy.

Despite the domestic economic crisis, Lonely Planet listed Zimbabwe among the 10 countries to visit in 2019. One of the drivers of the Victoria Falls region economy is the 2015-opened, $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport. The new airport, that was financed by a loan from China and with a capacity of 1.5 million visitors per year, is the centerpiece of Zimbabwe’s strategy, OSY reports.

The new airport has become a magnet for intra-African tourism, offering direct flights to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Nairobi (Kenya), Windhoek (Namibia) and Gaborone (Botswana) several times weekly, plus daily services to Cape Town and Johannesburg (South Africa) and Harare and Bulawayo (Zimbabwe).

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