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UNWTO lists priorities to advance in 2024

THE United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to which Zimbabwe is signatory says it has identified priorities to be advanced this year to promote growth and development of the sector.

Tourism is one of Zimbabwe’s key economic sectors the Government targets would drive the country towards an upper middle income economy society by 2030.

The tourism sector is one of Zimbabwe’s major economic mainstays and was hardest hit when countries around the world imposed travel restrictions and national lockdowns to combat Covid-19, a respiratory infection that was first detected in China in December2019 before spreading across the world.

Under the Second Republic, the sector alongside mining and agriculture, is targeted to play a pivotal role in driving the country towards the envisioned upper middle income society by 2030.

UNWTO said the sector’s priorities for this year are investment, education, youth empowerment and sustainability.

“In 2023, with the support of its members, the Organisation successfully laid the foundations for all these priorities to be advanced or realised over the year ahead.

“2024 looks set to be the year international tourism returns to pre-pandemic levels, capping a rapid and remarkable comeback.

“UNWTO has set the direction of travel, evolving its Programme of Work and moving even closer to its members on the ground,” said the world tourism body.

“Now, it’s time to look ahead and build a sector that offers even more for even more people and communities while also focusing on this year’s World Tourism Day theme: Tourism and Peace.”

On the investment front, the UNWTO said it will continue the work carried out last year in this area and promote investments by advancing its work across member States.

Investing in the tourism industry is critical to attracting domestic and international tourists in Zimbabwe and the world over.

According to official figures from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), in the first six months of 2023, investment into the country’s tourism industry grew by almost 100 percent to US$96,5 million.

The growth is attributed to various initiatives that have been adopted by players in the country’s tourism industry.

During the period under review, tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe increased by a roaring 50 percent to 529 078 signalling strong recovery of the sector that was hardest hit following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourism receipts, from January to June 2023 spiked to US$343,1 million compared to 16 percent less in the corresponding period in 2022.

Meanwhile, tourism statistics from ZTA for the full year to December 2023 are yet to be released.

Herald

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