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Crowd puller … Lions are amongst the top tourist attractions in Zimbabwe

GWERU Antelope Park owner, Andrew Conolly, has said the number of tourist visitors from Europe and America decreased since the outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease in March this year affecting business in the hospitality industry.

Addressing journalists during a media tour at the park last Saturday, Conolly said they used to get more visitors from western countries but the number had reduced because of the Ebola scare.

To date Ebola has killed over 7 000 people in West Africa though the ministry of health in Zimbabwe has said there has no confirmed report of the contagious disease in the country.

“Eighty percent of our visitors at the moment are locals while foreigners contribute 20 percent yet tourists from the United States and United Kingdom used to contribute the bulk of our visitors,” Conolly said.

“I must admit that the foreign market has dropped drastically as a result of the Ebola outbreak and the situation has been worsened by negative publicity and the current economic environment.”

Besides keeping a variety of wild animals Antelope Park also breeds lions which it releases into a wild reserve measuring 6 000 hectares.

The ministry of health has since established a website to educate people on Ebola and has used the platform to dispel rumours about the spread of the disease in some parts of the country.

In October Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive revealed that the country lost close to $6 million in tourism revenue as a result of circulating Ebola news scare on social media circles.

Source : New Zimbabwe