HARARE - Zimbabwe is among the worst tourist destinations in the
world, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that was
released on Tuesday.

The troubled southern African country that is in the grip of a severe
economic crisis came a distant 117 out of the 130 countries that were
surveyed in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report for 2008.The report, the second after last year’s inaugural report, lumped
Zimbabwe among countries such as Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Lesotho and
Chad, which anchored the rankings at number 130.Switzerland was ranked as the most attractive tourist destination
followed by Austria and Germany. Spain, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada
and France were all in the top 10.The WEF report measures factors that make it attractive to develop the
travel and tourism sectors looking at the regulatory framework, the business
environment and infrastructure as well as human and natural resources.Zimbabwe’s tourism sector, that was one of the biggest foreign
currency earners, has been in the doldrums since 2000 when President Robert
Mugabe began a crackdown on critics that drove away potential tourists. Harare has since 2004 been splashing millions of dollars to spruce up
Zimbabwe’s battered image without much success as tourists continued to shun
the country.Zimbabwe’s dismal ranking is further confirmation of the country’s
bitter economic crisis that has spawned shortages of food, electricity,
essential medicines and just about every basic survival commodity.The country is also grappling with the world’s highest inflation rate
of over 100 000 percent, massive unemployment and poverty that critics blame
on mismanagement by Mugabe.


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