Tourism contribution to worldwide GDP continues to soar. An assessment of the industry over the past six decades supports this fact clearly and shows that tourism continues to experience growth in numbers, new destinations, new experiences and new products, effectively making it one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors globally.
This sector may be disrupted by natural disasters, political disturbances, and instead of being depressed, it has remained resilient, in fact it has shown steady growth! According to the UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2011 edition, "international tourist arrivals have shown virtually uninterrupted growth from 25 million in 1950, to 277 million in 1980, to 435 million in 1990, to 675 million in 2000 and the current 940 million".
This phenomenon has not been limited to the traditional tourist destinations, but has been particularly fast in the emerging regions as evidenced by the growth of 31% in 1990 to 47% in 2010. This is a pleasing trend and we in Zimbabwe are also benefitting from this trajectory. UNWTO projects growth increase in international arrivals of 4% - 5% in 2011. As we approach our peak season in our resort properties, the numbers demonstrate this trend, and I am confident that they will continue to grow. Our only challenge, especially in our premier destination of Victoria Falls, is to ensure that accessibility and increased air excess can accommodate the ever increasing arrivals.