The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says the country could be losing close to US$400 million this Jacaranda flower season as tourists have yet to start flocking to the country.
Zimbabwe’s Jacaranda season starts in September and ends in October but this year arrivals have been few, a situation authorities have blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tourists from China, Japan, and South Korea, each year visit Zimbabwe during the September and October months for the Jacaranda and constitute at least 3% of total visitors received as tourists each year.
Statistics obtained from ZTA indicated that in 2019, the country realized US$1.3 billion in tourism dollars which is 8% of the country’s total revenue collected. ZTA said in a statement:
It, therefore, means the Jacaranda season alone gave us approximately $390 million as visitors would travel to view the purple flowers but stay in hotels and take part in so many other activities in the tourism sector.
“Asians are the ones that usually come for the Jacaranda season, they will not be travelling this year”, said ZTA spokesman Godfrey Koti.
An official from the Chinese Embassy in Harare who did not be want to be named told Anadolu Agency that not many Chinese will be travelling to see the Jacarandas this year because of the pandemic. The official said:
The flowers do not yet have a deep meaning in the Chinese culture but our people love to see them bloom.
Harare is usually busy around the Jacaranda season as some visitors would come to Zimbabwe just for a wedding photoshoot.
Other tourists would visit to see the flowers, have pictures taken, and also attend the Jacaranda Musical Festival.
But owing to the pandemic, the festival could not take place in 2020 and most likely will not take place this year because of restrictions.