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China becomes the leading market source for Zimbabwe's tourism sector


Zimbabwe is looking to attract more Chinese tourists, mainly during the Spring Festival period. The country heavily depends on its tourism industry, making it the nation’s third-largest sector following mining and agriculture.

China is becoming an increasingly important source market for Zimbabwe's $1.2 billion tourism sector. In 2022, Chinese tourists accounted for over 10% of all international tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe, making them the second largest source market after Zambia.

The total number of tourists grew by 50% to about 530,000 in the first half of 2023, and tourism revenues grew by 16% to $343.1 million, according to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

There are a number of factors contributing to the growing popularity of Zimbabwe as a tourist destination for Chinese travelers. First, Zimbabwe is a relatively affordable destination, with prices for accommodation and activities being much lower than in many other popular tourist destinations. Second, Zimbabwe offers a wide range of unique and attractive tourist attractions, including Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, and the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. Third, the Zimbabwean government has made a concerted effort to promote the country to Chinese tourists, and has signed a number of agreements with Chinese travel companies to boost cooperation in the tourism sector.

The growth in Chinese tourism to Zimbabwe is having a positive impact on the country's economy. Chinese tourists are spending money on accommodation, activities, food and drinks, and souvenirs, which is helping to create jobs and boost economic growth. The Chinese government is also investing in Zimbabwe's tourism infrastructure, such as new hotels and airports, which is helping to make the country more attractive to tourists from all over the world.

China has consistently remained a crucial economic partner for Zimbabwe. Indeed, Business Insider previously reported on the infusion of Chinese investment worth $1 billion into Zimbabwe’s expanding lithium market.

In the Zimbabwean tourism sector, China has made a set of strategic investments to gain a larger market share. For example, in 2019, the Chinese government announced a US$60 million investment in the development of a tourism corridor along the Zambezi River. In 2020, the Chinese government announced a US$10 million grant to Zimbabwe to help the country develop its tourism industry. And in 2021, the Chinese government announced a US$20 million loan to Zimbabwe to help the country build a new airport at Victoria Falls.

Chinese investments in Zimbabwe have been growing in recent years, making China the country's largest foreign investor. In 2020, Chinese direct investment stock in Zimbabwe reached over US$2 billion, and it is still rising. However, Chinese investments in Zimbabwe have had a mixed impact on the country's economy. On the one hand, Chinese investments have helped to create jobs and boost economic growth. On the other hand, some critics have argued that Chinese investments have led to the exploitation of Zimbabwe's natural resources and the displacement of local communities.

The growing importance of China to Zimbabwe's tourism sector is a positive development for both countries. It is helping to boost economic growth and create jobs in Zimbabwe, and it is also providing Chinese tourists with an opportunity to experience a unique and beautiful country.

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