O Level Notes : Geography - Industry - Service Industry and Tourism

Primary, secondary, and tertiary industries are important to any country. Primary industry tends to dominate economies in most developing countries, whereas, the industrialized countries tend to have stronger secondary and tertiary sectors.

The service industry is crucial to all the sectors of any economy. In Zimbabwe, the tourism sector plays a significant role, hence this chapter looks at the importance of this sector as well as the quaternary industry to the economy of Zimbabwe.


This service industry deals with offering intangible products to the consumers. These intangible products are activities or duties performed to satisfy given wants. They cannot be seen or touched but their absence will cause adverse effects. Such services include banking, teaching, nursing, and cleaning. There are no physical goods offered. The service industry enables all the other industries to function well.

Characteristics of the service industry

  • Demand fluctuates, for example, in tourism industry
  • Intangibility of the products
  • It is labour intensive
  • Service firms can operate without a physical production site


Tourism involves visiting places of interest for pleasure and leisure. It involves travelling distances to see areas of interest which might be beautiful landscapes, animals, birds or lakes. Tourism involves temporary movements for the purpose of leisure and excludes result in permanent change of home. A tourist is a person who visit an area of interest or a resort for the purpose of leisure and pleasure. Tourism can be done through visiting areas within one's country of residence or travelling to other countries.

Types of tourism

Domestic tourism

Involves visiting areas of interests within one's country of residence. As Zimbabweans when we visit areas such as national parks, Great Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls for the purpose of leisure and pleasure, we will be involved in tourism.

International Tourism

This type of tourism involves travellers who visit areas of interest found in other countries. Such tourists need travel documents and have to use agents to get information on bookings and other related costs. They may travel by road, air, rail or sea to far destinations in other countries. For example, tourists visiting Victoria Falls from South Africa, China, Botswana or Canada are international tourist. International tourism usually involves business with pleasure whereby the tourists visit a country for a business meeting and then quickly visit an area of interest before going back to his or her native country.

Mass Tourism

It is a form of tourism involving large numbers of tourists visiting same areas of interest at the same time. Thousands of people organise a tour together and travel together to a given location. The travelling deals are offered by companies as a package. It is cheap because tourism companies offer package deals whereby all the necessary facilities needed for the tour are offered under one brand, for example, transport, accommodation and other services.

Eco Tourism

It is a form of tourism that involves visiting natural areas which are undisturbed by severe human activities. Today's world has become too urbanized and polluted. Urban dwellers miss a clean undisturbed natural environment. It is quite refreshing to be in a beautiful natural environment, hearing birds singing. The beautiful natural landscape attracts large numbers of visitors.


Tourism is an important industry that contributes significantly to many economies across the globe. As an industry, it is sensitive with tourists being so particular about their safety, security and satisfaction. The factors affecting tourism are:

  • Climate

Most tourists consider climatic conditions before visiting an area. Most tend to like sunny conditions. This explains the seasonal fluctuations of tourist arrivals in countries such as Zimbabwe. During Zimbabwe's cold winters, tourist numbers decline but the numbers are at a peak during the warm summers. Europeans and Americans, for example, visitAfrica for its sunny or warmer climate.

  • Availability ofAccommodation

Tourists are people who want to get satisfaction from their visits. They need value for their money. Cheap and good accommodation attracts them to a given destination. The accommodation should meet international standards because the visitors want to experience the best for a holiday.

  • Accessibility

Accessibility refers to the easy with which an area can be reached. To arrive at any resort, there is need for the area to be well connected with roads, sea, rail and air. Good roads and rail networks connecting a resort makes the area attractive to tourists. International airports at resorts or interesting areas makes a tourist destination appealing to visitors. This explains why investments are being made in constructing and upgrading airports at tourist resorts such as Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe).

  • Marketing

Tourism depends on positive publicity. Tourists are easily scared away by any negative publicity. Marketing creates awareness of places of interests and provides good publicity for resorts. Without advertising, promotion and publicity, some tourist resorts may fail to attract visitors. International relations by governments also affect publicity of destinations. Marketing is done through magazines, televisions, radios, the internet and pumplets.

  • Political Stability

The absence of war creates a safe destination for tourists but political stability does not only mean absence of war. It encompasses other issues such as respect for human rights and absence of terrorism. Countries where human rights are not respected are deemed unsafe for tourists. Governments warn their citizens against visiting countries perceived as unsafe for their people. For countries in war such as DRC (2000-2002), Rwanda(1990s),   Syria as of let and Zimbabwe (2000 and 2008) tourist arrivals dwindle.

  • Availability of foreign currency

Tourists are quite sensitive and in some cases want to feel at home when away from home. This means that good hospitality is needed. There is need for importing world standard equipment for use by tourists. Consumables such as wine and food have to be imported and all these calls for foreign currency. When there is shortage of foreign currency, the activities of the tourism industry are negatively affected.

  • Manpower

Though mechanization of many sectors has greatly improved in most countries, the service industry is still labour intensive. Human hospitality does not have a close substitute, as tourists need to feel the hospitality from fellow humans and not machines. Skilled labour force in tourism and hospitality is therefore required.

  • Availability of tourist attractions

Tourists want to relax and enjoy the attractions. A country with more attractions attracts more tourists. These attractions include monuments, attractive scenery, and natural wonders and historical attractions. The more the attractions, the larger the number of tourists paying visits.

 Tourism Trends in Zimbabwe

In 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2009, the number of arrivals was low owing to bad publicity and economic meltdown. After 2008 the arrivals begun increasing due to economic stability brought by the introduction of the multicurrency system. After that, the number of arrivals became stable. International tourists visiting Zimbabwe come from Europe, North America, South America, South Africa and Asia. Fig 8.3 shows the extent to which different factors affect numbers of arrivals.

Factors affecting tourism

Tourist Attractions in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has various tourist attractions. These range from natural wonders to wildlife.Areas of interest to tourists in Zimbabwe include:



1 . The Victoria Falls

 The Mighty Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls pictured above is one of the 7 wonders of the world. It is the world's largest waterfall formed on a faulty fracture. The water falls into a deep gorge where the weak sand stone was eroded, along a faulty fracture. The falling water produces a rumbling sound, and when the water hits the bottom of the gorge it produces mist and usually a beautiful rainbow appears. The falls are so beautiful that many tourists want to see them. The constant sprays of water from the falls has led to growth of a tropical rainforest. Botanists and bird lovers are interested in such a paradise. Many other activities have grown centred on the falls thus making Victoria Falls a world class tourist resort. Some of the facilities include the crocodile farm, national park, baobab tree and boats.

  1. Mutarazi Falls

Is located on the Eastern part of Zimbabwe in Manicaland Province. It is within the territory of Nyanga National Park. The waterfall is quite majestic with water plunging down the mountain summit into a pool at the foot. The term Mutarazi is derived from the Shona word "Darazi". This is after the dangerous grass that kill livestock if they eat it. The falls offer a beautiful view throughout the year, given alternating views in accordance with seasons. The scenery around the area is awesome and worth visiting.


3.Great Zimbabwe

Mutarazi Falls

The fact that Zimbabwe is named after this historic monument, gives testimony to its majesticness. It is found in the South East Province of Masvingo. It is located near Lake Mutirikwi and was the capital of the Shona people between 11th and

14th century. The ruins and their surrounding covers an area of 722 hectares and is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The high walls constructed without mortar gives such a beautiful view. Besides the ruins, there are many other activities such as traditional dances. Lake Mutirikwi which is near also provide another source of pleasure.

 Great Zimbabwe

  1. Chinhoyi Caves

The first white man to discover these underground caves was Frederick Selous in The caves were used as strongholds by an outlaw called Nyamakwere who used to throw his murdered victims there. The pools found in those caves give a spectacular view. They are protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.


 Chinhoyi Caves


5.Nyangani Mountain

It is the highest peak in Zimbabwe standing at 2592m above sea level. The mountain and its surrounding landscape attracts tourists. It is located within Nyanga National Park and in that same park, there is the famous Rhodes Museum and hotel. Activities attracting tourists include mountain climbing, game viewing, landscape viewing, canoeing, trout fishing, swimming in natural pools, and artefacts viewing.



  1. National Parks

There are many national parks in Zimbabwe. The Savanna seasonal climate offers a variety of conducive conditions for wildlife.   The table below shows the different national parks found in Zimbabwe and attractions they offer.

Zimbabwe's National Parks


National  Park

Attractions/ activities




Covers an area of 191000 hectares. Offers spectacular  views, cliffs, mountains,  game viewing, climbing.


Nyanga National Park

Contains the Nyangani Range, game viewing, Mutarazi Falls, canoeing, fishing, Rhodes Museum, climbing


Chizarira National Park

Mountains,  spectacular  views, wildlife, game viewing, climbing


Chizarira National Park

Mountains,  spectacular  views, wildlife, game viewing, climbing

Hwange National Park

Game viewing, landscape,


Victoria Falls

Site viewing, game viewing, spectacular landscape.


Ve g e t a t i o n ,   b i r d s ,

butteries, game viewing


These National Parks are spread throughout the country and they contain different wildlife species ranging from those that have become rare in other countries. White and black rhinos, elephants, lions, kudus, giraffes, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, and many others. There are thousands of species protected in Zimbabwe's national parks.

Distribution of national parks and other facilities

IMPORTANCE OFTOURISM IN ZIMBABWE Tourism  brings  economic,  environmental  and  socio-cultural  advantages  to Zimbabwe. These are given below:


  • Tourism creates employment.
  • It leads to the development of remote area.
  • It leads to transfer of technology.
  • It brings foreign currency.
  • It is a source of government revenue.
  • It leads to growth of the service industry.
  • it stimulates economic growth


  • Leads to cultural exchange amongst countries.
  • Leads to cultural conservation by nations since the value of culture is emphasised through activities such as traditional dances.
  • Leads to conservation of cultural sites, for example, Great Zimbabwe.
  • Teaches the local people desirable social behaviour such as hospitality to foreigners.
  • Expose citizens of different nations to different social settings hence good things may be copied back home.


  • It promotes conservation of the Environment.
  • Leads to development of beautiful and clean physical environment to attract tourists.


Tourism also has its own disadvantages and these include:

  • Cultural erosion.
  • Prostitution.
  • Spread of diseases.
  • Environmental degradation as tourists use same roads and paths over and over again. They also throw empty cans, bottles and plastic bags in water or land causing pollution.
  • Smuggling of illegal drugs. Some " tourists" use their tours to import illegal drugs into countries they visit.
  • The nature of employment created is seasonal, therefore, there is lack of income during the off season.
  • Large amounts of imported goods such as food and wine doesn't help the country's balance of payment.
  • Locals are paid low wages despite generating large sums of money

Solutions to problems caused by tourism

  • Practising green tourism or ecotourism
  • Preservation of culture through cultural displays to visitors.
  • Cleaning programs or campaigns in tourist resorts.
  • Awareness campaigns.


Zimbabwe's tourism industry is affected by a number of problems. These reduce the industry's potential to contribute to the country's economy. These are:

  • Poaching of wildlife.
  • Veld fires
  • Shortage of foreign currency.
  • Negative international publicity due to presumed human rights abuses.
  • High fares/fees for accommodation and admission into resorts.
  • Unstable currency.
  • Pollution of aquatic environments.


The tourism industry has been experiencing rapid growth in recent years. The reasons for this growth are:

  • Increased desire for leisure time amongst citizens.
  • Availability of paid holidays and leave.
  • Availability of cheap efficient transport.
  • Creation of trading blocs, for example, EU which removes travelling barriers amongst member states.
  • Increased access to travelling documents, for example, passports.