Zimbabwe has seen a 17% increase in tourist numbers in the first six months of 2012, from 637,389 last year to 767,939.

Tourists from Africa constituted the lion’s share, with some 675,721 visitors, reflecting a 19% increase from 2011.

The African Development Bank reported a slight rise in mid-year hotel room occupancy from 38% in 2011 to 39% in 2012.

The country is also expecting the introduction of airlines, such as Emirates, KLM Royal Dutch Airline, Air Botswana and Mozambique Airlines, to further boost growth ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly.

The event in Zimbabwe will be the largest world gathering of countries in the country since the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting some two decades ago.