Walter Mswazie in Masvingo
AT least 10 000 local and foreign visitors thronged the Great Zimbabwe monuments, Lake Mutirikwi and Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo province on Christmas Day.
The tourist sites were a hive of activity as visitors from Zimbabwe and beyond the country’s borders visited the province to enjoy Zimbabwe’s hospitality.
National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) provincial director, Mr Lovemore Mandima, attributed the increased volumes of tourist arrivals to many locals’ appreciation of domestic tourism.
“The Christmas day saw more than 5 000 paying visitors touring our monuments,” said Mr Mandima.
He said the figure jumped from at least 2 000 visitors who toured the monument last year during the same period.
“There is marked improvement of visitors to the monuments. Imagine last year we had only 2 000 paying visitors visiting the monuments but the number has jumped to 5 000. We even envisage a great improvement as the economy improves.
“When the economy improves as we all anticipate, we may be overwhelmed by the number of visitors,” he said.
At Tugwi-Mukosi Dam,150 km along Masvingo-Chiredzi Road, an official said at least 6 000 people toured the magnificent dam on the Christmas Day while 1 000 viewed Lake Mutirikwi.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority provincial chairman Dr Fredrick Kasese said the increase in visitors, was a confirmation of the growth of the province’s tourism sector.
“I think an upsurge in both local and foreign visitors is a sign that we can be a force to reckon with in the tourism sector as a province. Tugwi-Mukosi Dam is a tourist attraction before putting any development like hotels, boat cruising activities and other establishments as spelt out in the development plan.
“Through effective utilisation of our monuments and water bodies that include Lake Mutirikwi and Manyuchi Dam in Mwenezi, we have the potential to contribute immensely to the provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” said Dr Kasese.
Last year the Great Zimbabwe monuments recorded about 61 000 visitors with South Africa, the country’s main tourism source market, contributing about 70 percent of foreign visitors. — @walterbmswazie2.