Tourist arrivals increase

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THE Great Zimbabwe Monument has continued to receive more visitors with the past two months reportedly recording an average of 100 percent increase in arrivals.

A total of 6 058 visitors had visited the world heritage site in April this year surpassing the 2 510 mark recorded in the previous year. The month has proved to be the busiest with the highest number of visitors recorded during last year and this year, respectively.

The surge in arrivals at the monument, comprising both local and foreign visitors including schools, is a result of robust marketing strategies led by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).

The UNESCO-certified World Heritage Site, which was recently equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment under the United States of America Ambassador’s US$475 000 grant, attracted a total of 3 827 visitors between July and August this year.

National Museums and Monuments provincial director Mr Lovemore Mandima said the monthly increases showed that the heritage site was becoming popular.

“While the figures seem to be fluctuating, we are happy with the monthly average of 100 percent increases and that includes local and foreign tourists. Our monuments continue to attract many visitors from within the country and abroad.

“We receive foreign tourists from South Africa as our major African source market as well as Asia and Europe,” said Mr Mandima.

“He said the fact that the tour guides were busy everyday assisting visitors showed that the monuments remained one of the main attractions in the country.

Mr Mandima also said that they were anticipating an increase in foreign arrivals this month. He said most of visitors preferred outdoor life during this time of the year.

“We are working on improving the monuments and trying to retain its originality in terms of rocks. You will note that due to denudation, some rocks may be falling off and we are restoring them, as well as attending to security features of the structures.

“We have installed state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, which will assist us in knowing where the wall has moved and what we should do,” said Mr Mandima.

“The installation was done by Italian experts under the US Ambassador US$475 000 grant.” Tertiary institutions are also among the top visitors given their focus on heritage and anthropology studies that require students’ practical exposure to archeological and natural artefacts.–

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