Zimbabwe’s battered tourism industry has received a boost after the North Korea football team confirmed they will train in the country prior to heading to South Africa for this summer’s World Cup.
Zimbabwe’s tourism minister Walter Mzembi told a press conference that five teams who have qualified for the World Cup, including England and the United States, were asked to visit in the build-up to the tournament but only North Korea has accepted the request.
Mzembi said Australia and Brazil were also approached in a bid to raise awareness for the country’s tourist attractions.
“Of the five countries that we are aiming to come to Zimbabwe, only North Korea have confirmed they will stay in Zimbabwe at the end of May before proceeding to South Africa for the World Cup tournament,” Mzembi said.
The North Korean embassy and Zimbabwe’s tourism ministry said that the team would be in the country from 25 May.
Mzembi also said Zimbabwe is hoping to attract 100,000 tourists before and after the World Cup. He called this an “achievable target” and hoped that football teams training in the country would help this objective.
Once the breadbasket of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe has tourist attractions abound, including the majestic Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural Wonders of the World, as well as world-class game reserves.
The country is slowly returning from international exile, with travel warnings by the United States, Japanese and German governments lifted last year.