HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said yesterday that he hoped his country's tourism industry will get a boost from the football World Cup in neighbouring South Africa.
"With the 2010 Fifa World Cup tournament, it is government's hope that tourism will receive another boost for its total recovery towards being a major contributor to the country's economic growth," Mugabe told thousands of Zimbabweans gathered at the National Sports Stadium for the country's 30th independence celebrations.
He said Zimbabwe's tourism industry was showing signs of recovery.
"In 2009 the sector generated an estimated amount of $522 million, contributing 6,5percent to the gross domestic product," Mugabe said.
The Southern African country is expecting to host some 100000 foreign nationals during the month-long World Cup that kicks off on June 11, mostly South Africans looking to escape the drama surrounding the tournament and those who are renting their homes to foreign visitors.
Zimbabwe's tourism industry has taken a beating as a result of the country's ongoing political and economic woes.
Tourist arrivals plunged from 1,4 million in 2000 to 223000 in 2008 as several countries in Asia and the West issued travel warnings against going to Zimbabwe. - Sapa-AFP