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ATA’s rich pickings at Victoria Falls


Players in the country’s tourism and hospitality industry in the resort town of Victoria Falls could have pocketed close to a $1 million by hosting the five-day 37th edition of Africa Travel Association (ATA) congress.

The event ran from May 18 to 22.
Official statistics released by Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke show that 615 delegates attended.

Local delegates totalled 400 while 71 were international. Additional visitors included those that took part in the Young Professional Programme and the local and foreign media.

Most delegates were housed at Elephant Hills, Rainbow Kingdom, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and A’Zambezi Lodge.

A snap survey by NewsDay showed that bed and breakfast for a night cost on average between $135 and $160 while a double room cost $180.

While traditional hotels in urban centres such as Harare and Bulawayo always have better occupancy rates compared to those in resort towns, most of the hotels housing ATA delegates were fully booked.

A rough calculation based on the number of delegates that attended the event indicates that almost $600 000 was spent on accommodation and breakfast alone.

Additional funds were spent on both road and air transport.

With lunch and supper costing an average of $20 per person, hotels and restaurants dotted around the town recorded extra pickings.

Delegates also had the opportunity to sample various recreational activities offered in the resort town, including bungee jumping, sunset cruises, flight of the angel and game viewing, among others.
This put more money into the pockets of tour operators.

African Sun chief executive officer Shingi Munyeza, whose hotel hosted the congress, said this was an example of the country’s ability to host big events.

“This gives confidence to the outside world that we can host big events,” he said.

US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, on his Facebook page said of the congress: “ATA’s 37th annual congress in Victoria Falls is not only well attended, but well organised.

“Kudos to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority for its efforts in putting this together.”

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