Zimbabwe: CDC Endorsement to Boost International Tourist Arrivals


On June 7 2021, the United States’ Centre for Disease Control (CDC) released an updated travel advisory which showed an improved travel safety rating for Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries.

The latest rating saw Zimbabwe being elevated to Level 1, which consists of countries regarded as having the lowest COVID-19 risk for travellers, up from Level 4, which is “Very High” risk.

Earlier this year, the United States of America warned its citizens not to travel much, designating multiple countries, Zimbabwe included, in the “Very High Risk” category.

Explaining how it came up with the latest updated list, the CDC said:

“Primary and secondary criteria used to determine Travel Health Notice levels were updated to better differentiate countries with severe outbreak situations from countries with sustained, but controlled, Covid-19 spread.”

In its changes, the CDC moved 58 countries out of Level 4, the “Do Not Travel” list, and designating them under Level 3, the “Reconsider Travel” destinations. Zimbabwe was one of 34 countries moved to the “Low” Covid-19 level.

Under Zimbabwe’s Level 1, the US only urged travellers to “make sure you are fully vaccinated before travelling to these destinations.”

The other SADC countries in the low category are Malawi and Mozambique. Zambia is in Level 2 (moderate) while South Africa is classified under Level 3 (high).

The US CDC’s revision of the country’s travel safety rating to Level 1 is a welcome development as it has potential to expedite the resuscitation of the local tourism sector post Covid-19.

CDC’s latest classification is a direct response to the New Dispensation’s well calculated and packaged Covid-19 response strategy which has become the envy of both friends and foes.

No doubt, this is an endorsement of the country’s efforts in reducing the spread of the pandemic and will inspire confidence among tourists planning to visit Zimbabwe now or in future.

It is also important to highlight that countries in the Americas are Zimbabwe’s largest tourist source market contributing 101 156 tourists in 2019 down from 120,313 in 2018.

This endorsement by CDC is likely to push up tourist arrivals from the Americas in 2021 and beyond; this is what the sector has been waiting for especially the City of Victoria Falls.