By Shingirai Vambe.
Players in the tourism industry have bemoaned the poor state of the major highway leading to Victoria Falls.
The stakeholders raised this at a Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) organised post Covid-19 assessment workshop in the Resort City of Victoria Falls at Cresta Hotel.
In her opening remarks , Acting Director in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Gladys Chinyerere said tourist receipts fell by 71 percent in 2020 following a 72 percent decline in arrivals.
“The performance took Zimbabwe 30 years back to 1991 arrivals. As a resilience sector, in 2021 there were signs of recovery with arrivals declining by 40 percent while receipts recovered by a 10 percent margin increase,” she revealed.
Former Acting Chief of the ZTA, Givemore Chidzidzi implored members to be innovative by using the media to advertise and act on flexible pricing structures.
“Players should make use of the various media technologies that we currently have.
“It’s here in Zimbabwe where I have seen hotels charging per person and not a room per night, so where one was supposed to pay US $160 will be asked to pay US$320 because of being 2 in the room” Chidzidzi encouraged.
Anald Musonza from Victoria Falls Safari Lodge told delegates that apart from loss of lives due to Covid-19, business was lost, employment and the knock down effect goes beyond emotions and attitudes.
Fees and licenses were said to be prohibitive and a proposal made was that of having National Parks to have one flat fee for all the activities and site visits at Victoria falls.
Majority of tourists prefer traveling from Botswana and South Africa, experience the rain forest and travel back because of the steel local hotel rates. Players also shared that some local people haven’t visited the Victoria Falls owing to the exorbitant fees.
Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe president, Wengai Nhau in his closing remarks said players must implement various recommendations raised during the workshop and adapt to the new normal.
A consultant team from Binder Dijker Otte, (BDO) is leading the engagement program in the country’s 10 provinces.
The team is proceeding to Masvingo tomorrow where they are expecting to engage with players and hear on their post Covid-19 recovery strategies.