TOURIST arrivals at Matobo National Park surged 11% to 11 513 during the first quarter of the year, spurred by the growth in both foreign and domestic arrivals, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
In emailed responses to NewsDay, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said the mantra that Zimbabwe “is open for business” had triggered arrivals into destination Zimbabwe in search for business opportunities, hence increased business travellers in the country.
“If we look at arrivals into Matobo National Park during the same time (first quarter of 2018), we will realise that there has been an 11% surge in both foreign and domestic entries from 10 378 to 11 513 in the first quarter of 2018,” he said.
The Matopos and surrounding areas was declared a Tourism Development Zone area in 2006.
This declaration, Kaseke said, meant to attract investment into the Matopos zone.
Being situated within the area, operators or new investors stand to benefit from duty rebate on capital goods under Statutory Instrument (SI) 60 of 2006).
“More so, tourism operators who are not located in Matopos are also entitled to duty rebate for capital goods under SI10 of 2018 and safari vehicles under SI159 of 2017. This is meant to spruce up and encourage growth of the Bulawayo tourism product,” Kaseke said.
Matobo National Park forms the core of the Matobo or Matopos Hills, an area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys stretching some 35km south of Bulawayo.
The national park is the oldest in Zimbabwe and was established in 1926 as Rhodes Matopos National Park, a bequest from colonialist Cecil John Rhodes.
The Matobo Hills were designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2003.
The area exhibits a profusion of distinctive rock landforms rising above the granite shield that covers much of