|Institution:||Zimbabwe Open University|
|Department:||Commerce and Law|
|Keywords:||service quality, airports, tourism growth, Zimbabwe|
|Full text PDF:||http://lis.zou.ac.zw:8080/dspace/handle/0/374|
Zimbabwe is adorned with tourism growth antecedents such as ample flora and fauna, spectacular scenery and cultural heritage sites yet the country continues to have an underutilized tourism sector. Following years of steady growth, the sector embarked on a downward trend in 1999. The global economic crisis, as well as the negative publicity and political unrest following the Land Reform Programme, have been cited as major causes of Zimbabwe‟s tourism slump. The signing of the Global Political Agreement in 2009 restored the country‟s economic and political sanity, setting the tourism sector on a recovery path. Zimbabwe‟s tourism however, continues to perform below its potential, necessitating the consideration of other factors that could possibly influence the sector‟s performance. This study therefore, sought to establish the quality of services at Harare International Airport and ascertain its role in tourists‟ decisions to travel to Harare. Basing on the SERVQUAL model, questionnaires were developed and fully completed by 410 passengers and 75 representatives of the various customer service departments at the Airport. To this end, the expectations and perceptions of respondents regarding the SERVQUAL dimensions of reliability, assurance, tangibility, empathy and responsiveness were sought. The study revealed that for all five dimensions, actual services delivered were below the expectations of passengers. Although services were not of a poor standard, there was room for improvement. Airport service quality was however, of significance to those travelling for reasons other than visiting friends and relatives. The Gap analysis suggests that managers were misguided on the service priorities of passengers. It can therefore, be concluded that Zimbabwe is capable of receiving more tourists by improving airport service quality. For that reason, Government investment in airports should be directed toward areas with the potential of raising service quality levels, thereby encouraging the influx of visitors who are sensitive to airport service quality. Investment in the human element of service delivery is also recommended to facilitate excellent customer service at airports.