Story by Mhlomuli Ncube
The tourism and hospitality industry is benefiting from the huge appetite for spending during the festive season with Victoria Falls and other destinations in Matabeleland North recording brisk business.
With most hotels and lodges almost fully booked, the industry is enjoying the fruits of promoting domestic tourism.
Mr Anald Musonza of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Victoria Falls Chapter said, “The first season for the year 2022 has seen the revival of tourism and we must also be grateful that domestic tourism has grown together with regional and international markets coming back, our festive season has been very busy. I am sure most of the hotels within destination Victoria Falls have recorded occupancy above 80 per cent, some hotels had 100 per cent occupancy which is really encouraging including all the small operators.”
Mr Tinashe Farawo, Zimparks spokesperson said, “This year, we have witnessed a significant increase in terms of people who visited the rainforest. 1 930 locals visited the rainforest this year on Christmas day which is a slight increase from 1 600 last year. We have also witnessed more internationals this year almost 400 adults and regionals about 220. It means the rainforest has become a destination of choice.”
“For the first time in 3 years, we have actually seen a full house in terms of accommodation. All the hotels were full, lodges were full, all the boats were actually on the river, helicopters are buzzing and domestic tourism has actually dominated. A lot of people have come with families from Harare,” noted Mr Clemence Mukwasi of Shearwater Safaris.
Making a strong comeback after 3 years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism sector is optimistic about further growth as it targets a US$5 billion economy by the year 2025.