Is Tourism in Zimbabwe Developing with the Poor in Mind? Assessing the Pro-poor Involvement of Tourism Operators Located Near Rural Areas in Zimbabwe

  •  Sarudzai Mutana    
  •  Tsitsi Chipfuva    
  •  Blessing Muchenje    


The paper explores the contribution of tourism industry operators to pro-poor tourism development in Zimbabwe. This research investigates a possible nexus between the aforementioned tourism growth and its potential for poverty reduction in communities surrounding Victoria Falls and Hwange. The researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with tourism industry businesses that exhibited their products and services at the International Travel Expo held on the 18th- 21st of October 2012 at the Harare International Conference Centre in Zimbabwe. Findings indicate that the tourism industry is keen to engage in pro-poor tourism initiatives for the rural people despite the political and economic turmoil that the industry has suffered over the past years. In Zimbabwe, 80% of the population resides in rural areas and a sizable fraction of these are near National Parks and Tourism Resorts, for example, Hwange National Park, the biggest Park in Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls, respectively. The findings point to the fact that tourism operators appreciate the need to incorporate pro-poor initiatives in their operations as evidenced by their commitment towards education funding initiatives, employment of the poor and generation of income from village tours. However more could be done to enhance the pro-poor tourism benefits that accrue to the rural poor by establishing close linkages between tourism operators and local communities.

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