TOURISM players in the resort town of Victoria Falls are basking in festive season bookings, as occupancy was at 92% for December and part of January.
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI/ SHARON SIBINDI
Hotels Association of Zimbabwe chairman, Chris Svova attributed the increase to the just-ended iflix Vic Falls Carnival which saw some domestic and foreign tourists booking in private homes as hotels and lodges were fully booked.
He said the expansion of Victoria Falls International Airport, reduction of police roadblocks and hotels upgrading also contributed to the increase in bookings.
“Our year end results looked quite positive. Last year, our bookings were 85% and they rose to 92% since the beginning of the festive season. This was mainly contributed to by the Vic Falls Carnival, which sold above 5 000 tickets mainly drawn from international visitors.”
Svova said many hotel and lodges had refurbished their rooms in preparation for the festive season and the new year.
“A large number of tourists were German, French, English, Chinese, South African, Asian and American,” he said.
Victoria Falls has eight hotels and 45 lodges with a combined capacity of about 3 800 beds.
Svova, however, bemoaned the low number of domestic tourists which fell from 15% to 10% due to the prevailing economic crisis.
“Our domestic tourism is always suffering and this past year and festive season has been the worst. Only a few can afford such holidays and it is our duty as operators to revisit our pricing tier for locals so that the number increases,” he said.
Meanwhile, employers in the tourism sector have projected a 10% growth in 2018 due to increased investor confidence following the change of government in the country.
In an interview with Southern Eye yesterday, president of Employers’ Association for the Tourism and Safari Operators, Clement Mukwasi said the sector was expecting steady growth on both the domestic and international fronts.
“Regional tourists are expected to grow in leaps and bounds since in the past 18 months they had stopped to drive due to numerous roadblocks. We noticed the reduced [roadblocks] and public relations have also improved,” he said.