Zimbabwe fails to capitalize on Jacaranda flower season because of coronavirus restrictions

Tourism official says loss of tourist dollars in Jacaranda season is a huge loss from Zimbabwe

John Cassim   | 10.10.2021
Zimbabwe fails to capitalize on Jacaranda flower season because of coronavirus restrictions FILE PHOTO

HARARE, Zimbabwe

Authorities in Zimbabwe revealed that the country could be losing close to $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 and according to tourism officials, “the losses could run into millions of United States dollars as the jacaranda flower market from Asia cannot travel to Zimbabwe owing to 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 the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) indicated that in 2019, the country realized $1.3 billion in tourism dollars which is 8% of the country’s total revenue collected.

“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,” said a ZTA statement.

“Asians are the ones that usually come for the Jacaranda season, they will not be traveling 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 traveling to see the Jacarandas this year because of the pandemic.

"The flowers do not yet have a deep meaning in the Chinese culture but our people love to see them bloom," the official indicated.

Tourism activities during the Jacaranda period

Harare is usually busy around the Jacaranda season as some visitors would come to Zimbabwe just for a wedding photoshoot.

“The Jacaranda trees have for years been attracting tourists to Harare where they would have their wedding images taken, we have very beautiful gardens in Harare with lots of flowers but these lavender flowers are popular with Asians,” Harare-based wedding planner Hazvinei Rugejo, 38, told Anadolu Agency.

Other tourists would visit to see the flowers, have pictures taken, and also attend the Jacaranda Musical Festival.

“The Jacaranda Musical Festival aims to enhance Harare’s artistic and cultural scene by bringing all people together to celebrate and be new, as symbolized by the blooming Jacarandas that line the streets of Harare,” according to a Jacaranda Music Festival website.

Owing to the pandemic, the festival could not take place in 2020 and most likely will not take place this year because of restrictions.

COVID- 19 restrictions

“We were anticipating that by the time the Jacaranda season comes up, we would have relaxed our travel restrictions albeit it hasn’t happened because the global market is also still closed.

"So, visitors from Asia, who are an interested group as far as the Jacarandas are involved, would not easily travel to Zimbabwe," Koti told Anadolu Agency.

Visitors are required to produce COVID-19 test results obtained 48 before travel and for some, proof they were vaccinated for the virus.

Although Zimbabwe is one of 47 countries that has been removed from the UK’s red list of countries with a high risk of travel, the effect will not automatically allow tourists to start flocking to Harare.

For those intending to take part in the Jacaranda boom this year, there will not be time to prepare and travel.

“The classification had put Zimbabwe in a disadvantaged position since the United Kingdom is one of the major source tourism markets,” said ZTA. “To us as the tourism sector, the announcement brings hope for recovery of the sector next year.”

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