Karikoga Kaseke, Chief Executive Officer [CEO], Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA] has called for the scrapping of visa requirements for Nigerians to boost tourism traffic from the West African country, which is Africa’s biggest source market with a population of 188 million.
Kaseke was speaking ahead of a familiarization tour to the country by a group of high profile Nigerian tour agents who will be hosted by the ZTA and Kenyan Airways from March 11 to 16, 2018.
Tour operators, who include Fidol Trips, TVP Adventures, World and Traveland, Nnenna Uwa Hub, Tour Brokers International and Kenya Airways, will tour Matopos, Hwange and Victoria Falls.
Kaseke said the placement of Nigerian nationals in Category C of the visa regime where they have to apply for permission before travel and mostly online was hindering Zimbabwe from increasing tourism traffic from that country.
“Until and unless these issues are resolved our expectation to tap into the Nigerian market will be cut short,” he said.
“Statistics show that while most movement of Nigerians is internal, there’s significant traffic regionally and to the west as Nigerians are constantly looking for economic opportunities, increasingly pursuing higher education and most definitely participating in tourism.” Kaseke added.
Arrivals from Nigeria to Zimbabwe decreased by 25 percent from 2 641 in 2016 to 1 979 in 2017.
However, the introduction of Kenya Airways flights into the Victoria Falls Airport has heightened interest by the West African tour agents who mainly target the adventure market and Kaseke believes there is a huge potential for Zimbabwe considering Nigeria’s huge population.
“We are happy to receive the Nigerian tour operators so that they can sample our product, which product we are confident will impress them to package and bring in the Nigerians.
Naturally, we are attracted to their numbers, with a growing population of 188 million with a rapidly growing youth population who are seeking adventure outside their borders, we can tap into their outbound tourism and realise growth in our own tourism cake,” he said.