Jemitias Mapira, Phanos Matura


This paper examines the main challenges which confronted Zimbabwe’s tourism sector between 1960 and 2000. The Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in 1965 led to the imposition of sanctions in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). This development set the stage for a long period of international isolation at regional and global levels. The negative image resulting from this event undermined tourism in the country. This was followed by the prosecution of the armed struggle between 1966 and 1979. Security threats undermined tourist arrivals in the country especially after the shooting down of the viscount by members of the Zimbabwe African People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) in 1978. Soon after independence in 1980, there was a surge in tourist arrivals into the country due to improved security within the country. However, the dissident menace in both Matabeleland and Midlands from 1982 to 1987 reversed the gains which had been realized at independence. After the signing of the unity, accord in 1987 there was a drastic improvement in security and this boosted tourist arrivals. However, most tourists came from neighboring South Africa and Zambia. Since some of them stayed with their relatives in Zimbabwe, they did not benefit tourist facilities such as hotels. Zimbabwe has drawn most of its tourists from its immediate neighbors while Kenya attracts tourists from as far as Europe and North America. In 2000, Zimbabwe’s tourism industry suffered yet another dent with the launch of the Fast Track Land Reform Program (FTLRP). Due to the violent and bloody nature of the event, it attracted negative publicity from the media which further undermined the tourist arrivals in the country. To date the country has lagged behind Kenya in attracting European and North American tourists who bring the much needed foreign currency. 


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