By John Kachembere
HARARE – Zimbabwe and Kenya are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at promoting tourism between the two countries.
Walter Mzembi, Zimbabwe’s Tourism minister, said the main objective of the MoU is to set out a general framework within which the two nations will strengthen relations and collaborate in the development of their tourism sectors.
“Thirty four years after our (Zimbabwe’s) independence, there is no bilateral relations between the two countries,” he said.
Under the MoU, the two will also co-operate in the development and promotion of tourism.
“Kenya is a good case study on the promotion of domestic tourism. The country was able to counter a nine percent drop in international tourists by vigorously pursuing and promoting its domestic tourism,” Mzembi said.
Zimbabwe’s tourism industry, once the country’s fastest growing sector, was badly affected by political and economic instability in the past 10 years.
However, the industry is on a recovery path.
According to latest Zimbabwe Tourism Authority figures, Zimbabwe recorded a two percent growth in tourist arrivals from 1 794 230 in 2012 to 1 832 570 in 2013.
Despite the increase, the arrivals are yet to reach the peak of 2, 2 million tourists recorded in 1999.
The majority of 2013 arrivals were low-spending tourists from mainland Africa who came in at 1 570 799.
Kenya’s tourism sector — the country’s second-highest foreign currency earner generating around $1 billion annually — is currently facing renewed crisis following a fresh wave of attacks on the country’s coastline by al-Shabaab militants. Daily News