Footsteps Through Time

Footsteps Through Time
A History of Travel and Tourism to the Victoria Falls - www.zambezibookcompany.com

Friday, 11 November 2011

Tourist arrivals up 16 percent

TOURIST arrivals into Zimbabwe climbed by 16 percent during the first half of 2011 to 657 302, from 568 706 during the six months to June 2010, driven by significant easing of the global financial crisis, a new report said this week.
The growth in arrivals was led by Africa, which pushed volumes up by 11 percent to 567 000, from 510 300 during the prior comparative period in 2010.
However, South Africa, the continent’s largest tourist market, declined by 33 percent, according to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA)’s Tourism Trends and Statistics Report released on Tuesday.
“Zimbabwe recorded a 16 percent increase in tourist arrivals in the first half of 2011,” the ZTA said. 
“The continued growth in arrivals can be attributed to the increased confidence in Zimbabwe as a tourist destination. This has been necessitated (by) continued marketing efforts by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority. The economic recovery by the country and the increased trade within the region also contributed significantly to this increase,” the report added.
Hotel room occupancy levels increased to 38 percent during the review period from 35 percent during the six months ending June 2010, with holiday travelers dominating.
Business travelers increased by 44 percent to 136 000.
Britain, Zimbabwe’s former colonial power that led an aggressive global onslaught against the country’s political establishment over a chaotic land reform programme that resulted in a sharp fall in foreign tourist arrivals into Zimbabwe, reported a 141 percent rise in arrivals at 10 720.
The report indicated that a marked recovery of Zimbabwe’s economy since dollarisation in 2009, significant improvements in international trade and aggressive marketing strategies had helped restore tourist confidence on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s economy grew by 8,1 percent in 2010 and was projected to grow by 9,3 percent in 2011, bolstering domestic tourism as disposable incomes improved. Fourteen percent of arrivals during the review period were overseas tourists, from 10 percent during the first half of 2010.
The Americas, where the ZTA had intensified its marketing drive and opened a marketing office in Brazil, together with a plan to lure about 14 million African Americans in the United States, had a 37 percent rise in Zimbabwe arrivals to 22 290.

Asia reported a 104 percent increase, Europe increased by 51 percent, the Middle East increased by 125 percent.
Tourism Minister, Walter Mzembi, had a highly publicised trip to Iran during this period.
The ZTA said there were positive signals of a significant rise in arrivals by year-end.
“The year 2011 promises to bring positive results to Zimbabwe’s tourism industry in line with the anticipated growth in international tourist arrivals by between four and five percent and the regional growth of 13 percent,” the ZTA said.
“Tourist trends are expected to rise following the stabilisation of the economy and the demand resulting from the expected increase in arrivals in 2011,” said the authority.
Source: Tourist arrivals up 16 percent (11/11/11)

Monday, 17 October 2011

ZTA moves to repossess 5 hotels

THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is withdrawing five hotels from the Rainbow Tourism Group, as it moves to enhance its business thrust in line with its economic turnaround project.

In an interview here yesterday, ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke, said ZTA was withdrawing Rainbow Towers and New Ambassador Hotel in Harare, Rainbow Bulawayo, Rainbow Victoria Falls and a lodge in Hwange, as part of its new business thrust.

But RTG chief executive Mrs Chipo Mtasa said she was not aware of any such moves “so we have no comment to make”.

Said Mr Kaseke: “We cannot be a tourism authority without a single hotel or lodge. We have made a decision to repossess Rainbow Towers, Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel, New Ambassador Hotel in Harare, Rainbow Hotel Victoria Falls and a lodge in Hwange. I can’t name the lodge but it’s a good one in Hwange.

“At the peak of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, the ZTA leadership of that time surrendered these facilities to the Ministry of Public Construction and they were leased out.”

Asked if the ZTA had the capacity to run the hotel facilities, Mr Kaseke said it could subcontract someone to run or lease them out.

“We must make money out of those facilities. Even if we make US$100 000 a month from them, we will be fine,” said Mr Kaseke.

He said the ZTA had already started working on the necessary modalities to ensure that the hotels become the ZTA’s a cash cow. It had largely survived on Government grants and levies paid by the tourism and hospitality industry.

Mr Kaseke said it “made sense” to repossess the facilities since his organisation had, over the years, rebranded and repositioned itself to market, promote and develop the tourism industry.

ZTA, which hosts many local and international celebrities and media houses as part of its National Perception Management Programme, needs hotel and lodge facilities of varied sizes and comfort.
Over the years, ZTA has been either paying cash or relying on the benevolence of hoteliers to accommodate its visitors.

“As an authority we need to invest in the industry as well, so that we get first-hand experience on the situation on the ground.

“We need to work on serious investment projects elsewhere in the country’s tourist resorts, so that we generate income for ourselves,” said Mr Kaseke.

Source: ZTA to repossess 5 hotels (16/10/11)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Victoria Falls charms Knight Rider

From Patrick Chitumba in Victoria Falls

POPULAR American actor, singer and businessman David Michael Hasselhoff, popularly known as Michael Knight, was in the resort town of Victoria Falls on a three-day private visit.
He was expected to leave Zimbabwe yesterday.

The Hoff, as he is known these days, rose to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s as the leading actor in the popular television series Knight Rider, alongside his famous car KITT.

He was also part of another popular series – Baywatch – alongside blonde beauty Pamela Anderson.
Hasselhoff, who was in the company of his fiancée Hayley Louise Roberts and his cousin Nicholas Jean Corjon, said he was in the country to enjoy the splendour associated with one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Victoria Falls Rainforest and the mighty Zambezi River.

These are among other adventures that make the resort town the tourism hub of Southern Africa.
In an exclusive interview at the five-star Victoria Falls Hotel, where he booked in soon after his arrival from South Africa, Hasselhoff said this was his second visit to Victoria Falls.

“I was here in 1986 with my father and I will always want to visit this place. “I am here to show them the beauty of what God made, the Falls, it is so beautiful.”

He added that he had fond memories of Victoria Falls with the most vivid one being when a monkey entered their hotel room.

“Back then, there was a sign written that when a monkey enters a guest room, you should report to management.

“So one day we walked into our room and found the monkey. We called management and they came and took it out and it was such an experience,” he said.

He said he also remembers that he once bartered a pair of tennis shoes for an elephant tusk but was quick to note that things had changed.

“Right now there is the moratorium on the trade of ivory and I believe it is good for the protection of the wildlife. The last time I was here I traded my pair of tennis shoes for ivory,” he said.
Hasselhoff added that he was touched by the fact that people in South Africa and Zimbabwe still recognised him for the role he played in Knight Rider.

“I also visited South Africa during the apartheid era to show support for the people who were fighting against it and what I have learnt is that the people want to see a happy world where there is love and friendship.”

Hasselhoff also said his visit to Victoria Falls might prove worthwhile since he intended to propose to his fiancée while bungee jumping.

“I proposed to her when we were in South Africa when we were under the ocean in a cage watching sharks and she refused even after I had told her that I was going to open the gate of the cage and we will be eaten by sharks.

“I even proposed to here in front of charging elephants and she still said no so I will again propose, as I do bungee jumping or the swing,” he said.

Hasselhoff also said that he was hoping to do white- water rafting in the Zambezi River together with his fiancée.

“For the next three days we are here in Victoria Falls and we intend to do a lot of adventure activities as we have a lot of fun with my fiancée and my cousin, as we see the world together.

“So basically we are having more of fun than anything here in Victoria Falls it is very spiritual. I think that sitting on the edge of the falls is the closest that you’ll ever come to God. And you’re going to want to jump. It is so powerful, you’ll just want to give yourself back to God ,” he said.

Source: Victoria Falls charms Knight Rider (27/09/11)

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Vic Falls reports an upswing in arrivals

Vic Falls in Zimbabwe is reporting an impressive turn around with a big increase in occupancy levels. According to occupancy records at seven hotels, covering a total of 1 008 rooms, levels were up by 20% based on the same seven month last year (January to July). This translates into 13 193 extra rooms occupied over the same period in 2010.

Several hotels reported having their best July since 2000 with occupancies at 70% and above. Furthermore, going forward August to November is looking promising with greater occupancies forecast. There are reports of 80% and upwards and average room rates and REVPar are rising in tandem.
According to Ross Kennedy, CEO of Africa Albida, "Victoria Falls Safari Lodge had the best July occupancy in 10 years at 70%. The Boma Place of Eating had its second best July ever. Only July 2007 saw more covers per night at an average of 183, while 2011 had on average 163 per night."
Meanwhile Ilala Lodge Hotel General Manager, Roddy Meiring, advised that "the hotel saw a massive 87% occupancy in July 2011, which is up 15% on last year".
General Manager of The Victoria Falls Hotel, Karl Snater, says "we have seen an increase in occupancies from 2010, for all months except March, with July showing a massive 21% increase in occupancy from last year".
According to Kennedy, there are several reasons why Vic Falls is seeing an upswing while many other destinations continue to struggle to fill beds. "The settling and stability of the economy since dollarisation in 2009 has meant that the supply chain has normalised and is thus operating to international standards. In addition it has meant that use of foreign currency, pricing and access to goods has normalised and we are once again a tourist-friendly destination," he says.
Kennedy adds that the UK market, along with other markets that stopped supporting the area, have started to come back after "staying away" for most of the last 10 years and many operators who moved business across to Zambia between 200 and 2010 have now moved their clients back to Vic Falls.
"Destination marketing campaigns such as the Go To Victoria Falls campaign have also paid off, along with international and regional awareness and education campaigns with the travel trade and consumers," concludes Kennedy.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Victoria Falls reports good occupancies

Feedback from Go To Victoria Falls members reveals that arrivals into Victoria Falls have seen a turnaround. The monthly fair market share statistics at the end of July show a substantial increase from last year as well as previous years. This is in direct contrast to the current tourism arrival figures in other Southern African destinations.


According to occupancy records at seven different hotels, covering a total of 1 008 rooms, arrivals into the destination were up by 20%, based on the same seven-month period last year (January to July). This translates into 13 193 extra rooms occupied (63 per night) over the same period in 2010.

Several hotels reported their best July since 2000, at 70%+ occupancies, and in some cases, July was among the best three or four months ever experienced at these hotels.

Forecasts for August to November look promising for the destination, with even greater occupancies predicted according to the in system occupancies for these hotels. There are reports of 80%+ and perhaps even the possibility of a few at 90%+. In addition, average room rates and Revenue Per Available Room (Revpar) are rising in tandem.

The economic and downstream benefits of this arrival trend are obvious as international and regional tourists, along with Zimbabwean visitors, spend ever increasing amounts of disposable income on their holidays. All areas of tourism, which include hotels, transfers, activities, restaurants, national parks, curio sellers, fuel stations, supermarkets and suppliers of goods, should see an upswing in revenue as a result of these increased arrivals.

According to Ross Kennedy, CEO of Africa Albida, “Victoria Falls Safari Lodge had the best July occupancy in 10 years at 70%. The Boma Place of Eating had its second best July ever. Only July 2007 saw more covers per night at an average of 183, while 2011 had on average 163 per night.”

Ilala Lodge Hotel GM, Roddy Meiring, says: “The hotel saw a massive 87% occupancy in July 2011, which is up 15% on last year.”

GM of The Victoria Falls Hotel, Karl Snater, adds: “We have seen an increase in occupancies from 2010 for all months except March, with July showing a massive 21% increase in occupancy from last year.”

These statistics show that while many destinations in Southern Africa might be seeing a decline in visitors, Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side is on the up and once again being recognised as a world-class destination.

Source: Victoria Falls reports good occupancies (23/08/11)

Monday, 15 August 2011

Victoria Falls Occupancy levels 15 August 2011

Feedback from Go To Victoria Falls members is that arrivals into Vic Falls have seen an impressive turn around, with the monthly fair market share stats at the end of July [2011], showing a huge increase from last and previous years. This is in direct contrast to the current tourism arrival figures in other Southern African destinations. According to occupancy records at seven different hotels, covering a total of 1008 rooms, arrivals into the destination were up by 20%, based on the same seven months last year (January to July). This translates into 13,193 extra rooms occupied, (63 per night) over the same period in 2010.

Several hotels had their best July since 2000, at an astounding 70% + occupancies, and in some cases, July was amongst the best three or four months ever experienced at these hotels.

Furthermore, going forward August to November is looking extremely promising for the destination, with even greater occupancies forecast, according to the in system occupancies   for these hotels. There are reports of 80% + and perhaps even the possibility of a few at 90% +. In addition, average room rates and Revenue Per Available Room (Revpar) are rising in tandem, which is fantastic news for the destination.

The economic and downstream benefits of this arrival trend are obvious as international and regional tourists, along with Zimbabwean visitors, spend ever increasing amounts of disposable income on their holidays. All areas of tourism, which include hotels, transfers, activities, restaurants, national parks, curio sellers, fuel stations, supermarkets and suppliers of goods, will be seeing a direct upswing in revenue as a result of these increased arrivals.

According to Ross Kennedy, CEO of Africa Albida, “Victoria Falls Safari Lodge had the best July occupancy in 10 years at 70%. The Boma Place of Eating had its second best July ever. Only July 2007 saw more covers per night at an average of 183, while 2011 had on average 163 per night.”

Meanwhile Ilala Lodge Hotel General Manager, Roddy Meiring, advised that “the hotel saw a massive 87% occupancy in July 2011, which is up 15% on last year”.

General Manager of The Victoria Falls Hotel, Karl Snater, says “we have seen an increase in occupancies from 2010, for all months except March, with July showing a massive 21% increase in occupancy from last year”.

These statistics show that while many destinations in Southern Africa might be seeing a decline in visitors, Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side is on the up and once again being recognised as the world class destination, it has always been proud to be.

Source:  Victoria Falls Occupancy levels (15 August 2011)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Thrills of the Victoria Falls Bridge tour

(eTN) - The Victoria Falls Bridge was alive with youngsters who had come to bungee jump, to slide across the gorge, or to swing on a cable. For the more sedate people, like myself, there is also something to do – a Bridge Story and Tour.
We were taken into the storytellers' room covered with pictures of the construction of the bridge in 1904. There we found a man sitting at a desk drawing. The man was George Imbault, the engineer of the bridge... that was what he told us, anyway... the fact that he would have been about 150 years old, didn’t seem to matter.
George Imbault got up from his desk and told us the story of the bridge. It was most entertaining. He was quite an actor. And he got all his facts right and told us things I didn’t know.
After our story, we were togged up in harnesses to go for a walk under the bridge. The harnesses are attached to straps and carabiners (metal clasps). These we were to use to attach ourselves to a rope as we walked along the pathway.
Crossing the railway line and road, we took the steps down the side of the bridge, attaching our harnesses as we went. The footpath under the bridge is a metal grill, and looking down between my feet, I could see the water below. I felt a bit woozy, but I think the harness gave me a sense of security, and it really wasn’t that bad.
Mr. Imbault came with us on the walk, too, and continued his fascinating stories of the bridge. The most interesting bit was the explanation of the vibrations of the bridge as a truck or train passes along it. The four pillars, which hold the bridge in position, have bearings under them to allow for movement of the bridge. If they weren’t there, the bridge would soon crack and break.
Mr. Imbault told us that the very last rivet to be used in the construction was made of gold. I looked for it among the thousands... but I didn’t see it.
We walked right across the bridge underneath and climbed up the ladder at the other end. Wandering back across the bridge, this time on the road, we stopped to watch the "jumpers" and "sliders."
Back at the reception, we took off our harnesses and then retired for a cool drink on the deck. The deck overlooks the gorge and the bridge, and it is a great spot for a couple of hours of viewing. I watched a few bungees, swings, and slides. A good afternoon’s entertainment... especially from this side of the gorge.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Baboon Causes Man to Fall to His Death

(Victoria Falls)


ZAMBIAN TRAGEDY - Date: 10th June 2011 - Early in June a tragic incident occurred on the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls. Following a stand-off with a baboon, which had taken an interest in a plastic carrier bag a tourist was carrying (which we understand to have only held a camera and no food), an American tourist slipped and fell to his death from the edge of the gorge.

The baboons on the Zambian side have long been far more troublesome than their relatives on the Zimbabwe side, often hi-jacking food stuffs from local people crossing the bridge near the border post and causing problems for tourists walking between the Falls and the Hotels located very close by.

Care should be taken when encountering baboons, even in Victoria Falls town and surrounds, especially if you are walking on your own and carrying food in plastic shopping bags. A sudden snatch-and-grab attack can leave you shaken and holding a torn plastic bag with a few less items of shopping. A backpack is probably safer (and reduces the plastic rubbish created by the town) and often locals are around who will be more than happy to walk with you if you are unsure. If re-using plastic bags for carrying non-food items, ensure the bag is clean and has not recently carried fruit or other fresh food stuffs which may leave behind an inviting smell to baboons. Certainly never feed baboons or any other wild animal.

Large male baboons can be extremely powerful and intimidating, especially if running straight towards you, with obvious intent in their eyes. If you find yourself in this situation, drop the shopping bag and step away. Do not attempt to wrestle with baboons for the ownership of your bag.

Residents of Victoria Falls walk past baboons every day, often within a few metres, without event. Knowing your baboon behaviour helps, and if you can’t observe baboons in the wild, watch a few wildlife documentaries to help you read their behaviour and reactions. Animals also read our behaviour, and it is important not to show fear or panic and to walk with confidence, purpose and direction. Keep an eye on all the baboons around you but avoid prolonged direct eye contact with individuals as this can be seen as a challenge or threat.

The key thing to remember in all animal close encounters is respect. Wild animals can be dangerous. However many animals will react with calm acceptance of your presence if you do not push their boundaries of tolerance. Whilst this varies with species and individuals, learning to read animal behaviour and react accordingly is a key requirement of any bush guide or ranger, or indeed anyone living in close proximity to wild animals – such as the residents of Victoria Falls.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Plans approved for Victoria Falls ground

Zimbabwe's plans for a third Test ground in the country to complement those in Harare and Bulawayo are set to come to fruition after the Victoria Falls local council granted planning approval for a stadium near the iconic site. Zimbabwe Cricket chief executive Ozias Bvute and chairman of selectors Alistair Campbell confirmed the council approval, and said that construction work will begin early next year.

"This is one of the great natural wonders of the world and playing international and first-class cricket there will cause a lot of excitement among visiting players and fans," said Bvute. "Tourism is on the up in this country and sporting tourism especially so.

"We had eight or nine thousand for a recent Twenty20 tournament in Harare and that has given us additional confidence to go ahead, apart from other factors," added Campbell. "People now go to Dubai for cricket. We will soon be an alternative to that. There is a lot of vision here at the moment."

As well as hosting Tests and ODIs, the ground will also provide a second home, after Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, for domestic side Matabeleland Tuskers. In addition, ZC are hoping that other teams - particularly English representative and county sides - will be attracted to use the facilities for pre-season tours.

Widely considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls sits on the Zambezi river on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is also a World Heritage site. At the height of Zimbabwe's tourism industry it attracted several hundred thousand visitors a year. Those numbers dwindled as the country's political situation deteriorated, with most travellers opting to reach the Falls through Zambia, but amid relative stability in recent years the number of tourists has started to pick up again.

Development on both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides has not been without its problems in the past, and in 2007 plans to build 500 chalets in a national park on the Zambian side, and the collapse of infrastructure in Zimbabwe, prompted Unesco to warn that the area could lose its World Heritage status. That never happened, however, and the development of the cricket ground will utilise the latest ecologically-friendly features.

Approximations of the total capacity of the ground range between 4,000 and 12,000 and no cost estimates have been made available so far, but architects are said to be drawing up plans for a clubhouse. Once completed, it will be accessible by road, rail and air in Zimbabwe, while several airlines offer flights from Johannesburg, the journey taking under two hours.

Source: Plans approved for Victoria Falls ground (9/6/11)






Thursday, 9 June 2011

Elephants cause death of two in Victoria Falls

VICTORIA FALLS ELEPHANT TRAGEDY

Two deaths caused by elephants, within the space of a week, have shocked residents of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

The first death, of a young man in Chinotimba, Victoria Falls, occurred on the evening of 3rd June. The man, an apostolic sect member, was trampled to death by a bull elephant soon after dusk while praying.

In the second, unrelated incident, a professional guide was killed by a bull elephant at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge while he was accompanying a client during a safari walk. The elephant was believed to be on 'musth', a period where a bull elephant has higher testosterone levels that heighten aggressive behaviour, charged at the two prompting the guide to fire warning shots. The guide however, tripped and the charging elephant trampled him. 

As reported in our recent Newsletters and stories, residents of Victoria Falls town have been plagued by garden-raiding elephants. Of concern is that as patience has worn thin with their nightly visits residents have resorted to harassing the animals more and more, from throwing stones to using loud fireworks, in order to move them on. 

Residents now look to ZimParks to offer advice and guidance on elephant-human interactions and how they can protect their properties from the attentions of elephants. Local conservationists are recommending non-lethal measures which will discourage the elephants from visiting residential areas. They are working on various alternatives such as qualified teams being set up to deal with elephants and a hotline for residents to call 24 hrs a day.

Clearly shooting all the elephants involved is not an option that the tourism industry, or international community, will support, and yet something must be done before another tragic loss of life occurs.

Tourists walking in Victoria Falls are recommended to always carry a torch at night-time and to take special care on roads frequented by elephants (the tell-tale signs are usually more than evident to sight and smell). Ask around and find out if elephants have been around - if so take a taxi. If elephants are encountered on roads, retreat to a safe distance. Do not throw stones or other objects. If you are close enough to throw stones and get a reaction from the elephant, then you are too close!!

Source: VICTORIA FALLS ELEPHANT TRAGEDY  (08/06/2011)

Elephant Kills Victoria Falls Safari Lodge Guide

On June 8, tragedy struck at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, when the lodge’s Head Guide Tendekai Madzivanzira was killed by an elephant in full musth.


Madzivanzira, who had years of experience, had escorted an international guest from the hotel to the nearby Siduli Hide on an armed walk at 16h00. The hide is close to a waterhole frequented by a variety of game and while the guest was inside the hide, a number of animals visited the waterhole, including a bull elephant in full musth.

The bull chased off another four elephants that had made their way to the water to drink and, after some time, the bull elephant started to move off. It was at this time (18h00) that, while Madzivanzira was escorting his guest back to the lodge, the bull spotted them and started to charge. According to the guest, Madzivanzira grabbed her arm and instructed her to run but by this stage the elephant was too close. Madzivanzira then instructed her to climb a nearby tree and stumbled as he turned to face the elephant as he discharged his weapon. The elephant hit the guide tossing him to the ground.

Efforts by observers and staff whistling and shouting from the lodge’s balcony to try to distract the charging bull elephant were to no avail. The elephant eventually ran off and staff members and a medical team were on site to rescue the guest from the tree and attend to Madzivanzira, who had been fatally wounded. Senior management from Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and experienced wildlife experts, in co-ordination with the National Parks and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), were called to secure the area and to conduct further investigations into the matter.

Once news of the incident had reached Africa Albida Tourism’s head office by 18h30, Madzivanzira the various management staff were deployed to assist with contacting family and immediate grief counselling ensued with the guide’s family and the guests.

While in transit today to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Ross Kennedy, Africa Albida Tourism’s Chief Executive, said: “It is a very sad and shocking thing to have happened and we will do everything we can do to provide support for Tendekai’s family. I‘ve been told the staff at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge have been amazing in dealing with the situation and I have to say a big thank you to all of them. This is the first time in the 17 years of the lodge being open that something like this has ever happened and as much as we train our staff for a worst case scenario when living in the bush with wild animals, you still never think an incident like this is ever going to take place. Tendekai was a skilled professional who had the respect of his wildlife peers and conservation colleagues, along with all clients, staff, and the community as a whole”

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Victoria Falls Zambia dedicated for Peace through Tourism

What has tourism got to do with peace? One might say, Peace, that's the government's job. Louis D'Amore believes otherwise.
He is the founding president of the International Institute of Peace through Tourism.
The Canadian government commissioned him to develop a code of ethics and guidelines for sustainable tourism that has become an international model. D'Amore says, "World leaders are now beginning to realize that if we want peace, we must prepare for peace.
And if we are to prepare for peace, we must have, and share, a common, positive vision of peace."
Louis D'Amore of the "Coalition of Partners for World Peace through Tourism" with partners who are each committed to a "Millennium Project."
"The tourism industry has the potential to become the world's first "Peace Industry"; an industry that recognizes, promotes and supports the belief that every traveler is potentially an Ambassador for Peace."
The president of Zambia H.E. Rupiah Bwezani Banda declared the week of May 15 as a national week of Peace Through Tourism in honor of Louis D'Amore 5th Africa Conference in Lusaka.
20 delegates from the 5th Africa Conference for the International Insitute for Peace through tourism (IIPT) went to Victoria Falls, Zambia on May 18,2011 to re-dedicate the IIPT Peace Park. IIPT delegates and their founder and president Louis D'Amore were joined by Zambia's Minister of Tourism, Environment and natural resources Hon. Catherine Namuga,Zoltan Somogyi , Executive Director for Member Relation Services, UNWTO, and local dignatories from both Zambia
and Zimbabwe.
And speaking at the re-dedication ceremony in Livingstone, IIPT Founder and President, Louis D’Amore said the falls is an important part of global tourism.
And World Tourism Organisation Executive Director, Soldan Somogoyi reiterated Mr. D’Amore’s sentiments.
The Victoria Falls was last rededicated in 2005 during the 3rd IIPT conference.
And speaking at the same occasion, Tourism Minister, Catherine Namugala said the re-dedication of the Victoria Falls shows government’s commitment to the sector.
H.E. Namugala has further noted that tourism is one of the major sectors under the economic diversification agenda hence needs to be supported. She also stated the need to push for the agenda of peace through tourism.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Lion attacks tourist at Victoria Falls

A dream vacation to Zimbabwe turned into a nightmare for a woman from East County, San Diego in the US after she was attacked by a lion while on a safari with her husband at Victoria Falls.
Colleen Garbaczewski and her husband were on a lion walk at Victoria Falls when she was attacked, according to a family friend.
Videos of lion walks show people walking near lions. Some even sit with the lions and even pet them.
But for Garbaczewski, something went terribly wrong. Though the details remain unclear, the attack left Garbaczewski with what her family said were non life-threatening injuries.
"It's terrible. That's horrible," said Joseph Kalfayan, who has lived near the couple for 10 years.
Garbaczewski is an executive with Pacific Coast Rentals and is also involved in the community.
Kalfayan had this message for his friend: "I wish her good health, the best of luck and a quick recovery."
A member of the Garbaczewski family said Garbaczewski is recovering well and should be home soon.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Tug of war over Falls tourists

"Tourists are back!" said Knowledge, all smiles at the Victoria Falls tourism office.
His sentiment is shared widely in this resort town on the edge of the mile-wide waterfall, where it's hard to remember that three years ago Zimbabwe was trapped in a seemingly endless spiral of hyperinflation, hunger and political violence.
Victoria Falls had become a ghost town as tourists opted for the comforts and safety of resorts on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River, where the once sleepy town of Livingstone enjoyed a tourism boom as Zimbabwe collapsed.
"The Zambian side has definitively profited from all the problems in Zimbabwe," said Sarah, who sells excursions for at the Zambezi Sun, part of a South African hotel chain that opened on the Zambian side in 2001.
Hotels, lodges and other tourist attractions have mushroomed over the past decade around Livingstone, which became so popular that it now boasts several daily direct flights to South Africa.
But a brand new curio market on the main road lies empty as tourists fly in and hop across the border.
"We are not happy, the situation is bad," said the Livingstone Tourism Association. "They come here for activities and they go to Zimbabwe for accommodation."
Livingstone still runs a brisk trade in business travel by hosting conferences and corporate team-building workshops, but now faces stiff competition with Victoria Falls for leisure travellers.
Zimbabwe's tourism earnings jumped 47 percent last year to $770 million, as the number of visitors rose 15 percent to 2.3 million nationally, with Victoria Falls the country's biggest attraction, according to the tourism ministry.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi hopes to grow that number to five billion dollars by 2015.
"However, this is on condition that the current peace and stability in the country prevails and the country is able to spin a more positive image of itself," he told reporters last month.
Since Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar two years ago, prices are lower in Victoria Falls than in Livingstone, where entrance to the derelict Railway Museum costs $15 for foreigners.
"It is cheaper here, and people can walk to the falls. They don't have to take a taxi or whatever," said Duni, a Victoria Falls hawker offering sunset cruises, helicopter rides, rafting, bungee jumps and safaris to passers-by on the sidewalk.
While Victoria Falls sits at the river edge, Livingstone is 10 kilometres (six miles) away, with a fleet of blue taxis shuttling visitors around for $10 a pop.
Opinion is divided on which side offers the better view of the 108-metre (360-foot) high falls, though the Zimbabwean side has a greater variety of viewpoints.
Confident in its renaissance, Victoria Falls has asked for Chinese aid to expand its airport to accommodate bigger planes.
But the throngs of street vendors trailing tourists are a constant reminder that it's still not business as usual.
Among the souvenirs on offer, a 100-trillion-dollar note from the old Zimbabwe currency, a worthless amount during the age of hyperinflation. Its relegation to the trinket shelves is what allowed to Victoria Falls to welcome visitors again.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Tourist arrivals rise by 11 percent

According to the latest report titled “Tourism Trends and Statistics Report 2010”, which was prepared by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) market research and product development division, the effects and after effects of last year’s world soccer jamboree — held in Africa for the first time — largely contributed to the significant rise in tourist arrivals and hotel occupancy levels.

The report indicates that tourist arrivals were 2 239 165, representing an 11 percent increase from the 2009 figure of 2 017 264; pushing up tourism receipts to US$634 million from US$523 million recorded in 2009, representing a 21 percent increase from the comparative period.

Of the 2 239 165 arrivals received by Zimbabwe in 2010, Africa contributed 87 percent followed by Europe (6 percent), the Americas (3 percent) and Asia (2 percent). The Oceania and Middle East contributed less than 2 percent.

Average hotel room occupancy levels also increased from 46 percent to 52 percent while average bed occupancy levels rose from 35 percent to 36 percent last year compared to 2009.

Almost all of the country’s regions experienced increases in room occupancy levels except Harare and Midlands. Harare and Bulawayo and other regions recorded increases in bed occupancy except Beitbridge that remained unchanged.

The border town of Beitbridge had the highest room (62 percent) and bed (59 percent) occupancy rates while Victoria Falls remained with the highest foreign clientele composition at 63 percent probably because almost all foreign tourists want to catch a glimpse of the majestic Victoria Falls.

In interview last week, ZTA head of public relations and corporate communications Mr Sugar Chagonda confirmed that Zimbabwe’s tourism sector recorded an increase in arrivals spurred by some of its Southern

African markets such as South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland.

“Most of our tourists came from neighbouring countries and South Africa remains the major source market in Africa with a market share of 70 percent of arrivals from the African continent.

“The increase is attributed to an increase in tourist arrivals in 2010 to our vigorous marketing campaigns both in traditional and potential source markets. The economic stability obtaining in the country since 2009 is also a major contributor to the rise in tourist arrivals and room occupancy levels.

“It is also important to note that the peace prevailing in the country since the consummation of the inclusive Government has played a pivotal role in luring tourists. A lot of tourists have changed their perception of Zimbabwe since the formation of the inclusive Government,” said Mr Chagonda.

The report indicates that tourist arrivals from the Americas rose by 19 percent in 2010 with the United States, arguably the country’s second biggest rabid critic after the United Kingdom, increasing arrivals by 30 percent.

The US continues to lead as the major overseas source market for Zimbabwe while Britain has maintained second position since 2006.

It is believed the 2010 soccer World Cup, “to some extent”, resulted in an increase in Mexican and Argentinian arrivals. However, the Asian region recorded a 36 percent decline in arrivals with all major markets except Japan and Malaysia recording a decline in the period under review.
Statistics show that Japan is the largest Asian market for Zimbabwe followed by China with a market share of 25 percent.

Europe also recorded a 20 percent decline last year with most major markets recording declines in tourist arrivals. Spain had the highest increase in arrivals (70 percent) followed by Britain and Ireland.

Going forward, Mr Chagonda reckons the country’s tourism sector has the potential to do better and probably contribute significantly to Gross Domestic Product if Government supports the ZTA’s marketing initiatives.

“I still feel we can do better as an industry if Government avails more funds for the Tourism Board’s marketing initiatives. There is no doubt that funds are heavily required to enable the ZTA to attend travel shows around the world.

“Last year, we requested for US$12,5 million from Treasury but we only got US$400 000 which is not enough for us to remain visible in source and potential markets. So far this year, we have taken our marketing of the country to Russia, China, Germany and recently the Seychelles where we did well,” said Mr Chagonda.

The report suggests that 2011 promises to bring positive results to the country’s tourism industry in line with the anticipated growth in international tourist arrivals by between 4 percent and 5 percent riding on the back of economic stability.

Source: Tourist arrivals rise by 11 percent (26/3/11)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Multi-million dollar mall for Vic Falls

Developers of a shopping mall in Victoria Falls have invited businesses to forward their input into the building of the structure which they say would take shopping to a new level in Zimbabwe’s premier resort town.
The Mosi-oa-Tunya Gateway Shopping Mall, that will accommodate shops of all sizes, is being developed by Calwood Investments Private Limited, through their project managers, Knight Frank, who have invited prospective tenants to indicate their interest.
Knight Frank managing partner in Bulawayo, Oswald Nyakunika, said the shopping mall would be located at the intersection of Livingstone Way and Kazungula Road at the entrance to Victoria Falls town.
“The development will be highly visible and abutting these major roads from Kazungula, Bulawayo and the airport into town,” Nyakunika said. He said with store sizes ranging from 40 square metres to 1 800 square metres, the shopping mall would accommodate a full complement of shops from pharmacies to banks, to restaurants, clothing stores, hardware and electrical appliances shops.
“Customers will also have access to curio and art wares, medical suites, tour operators and travel agents, as well as an Internet café,” he said.
The largest shop will be approximately 1 800 square metres and can accommodate a large retail warehouse, a wholesale cash and carry, superstore or large supermarket.
The mall is expected to service Victoria Falls and the nearby towns of Hwange and Lupane, as well as Livingstone in Zambia, Kasane in Botswana and Kazungula at the borders of Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
The estate agent expert said amenities would include ample parking in a secure environment, tastefully designed street furniture, vendor stalls and shopping benches.
“The shopping mall is expected to be a blue tooth and Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing patrons to be in touch with the centre events and surf the web free of charge,” said Nyakunika. He said what makes the town attractive is that it is the centre of attraction in a vast tourist region that straddles across the borders of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
“Victoria Falls has a local population of 65 000 inhabitants complemented by tourist arrivals estimated at 300 000 per year and forecast to reach 1 million per year by 2015,” he said.
The development by Calwood Investments is a giant step as the property market lumbers on a recovery path after a decade of struggling.
On the state of the property market in the country, Nyakunika said development had been affected by the liquidity crunch.
“Even though development costs have stabilised there is a severe liquidity crisis and as such there are very few development projects going on.
“This huge development that we are undertaking is one of the few in the country,” he said.
Nyakunika said they were hoping to marry the staying power of the property market with the allure of the tourism sector.
Source: Multi-million dollar mall for Vic Falls (07/02/2011)

Monday, 28 February 2011

New Shopping Mall for Victoria Falls

Developers of a shopping mall in Victoria Falls have invited businesses to forward their input into the building of the structure which they say would take shopping to a new level in Zimbabwe’s premier resort town. The Mosi-oa-Tunya Gateway Shopping Mall, that will accommodate shops of all sizes, is being developed by Calwood Investments Private Limited, through their project managers, Knight Frank, who have invited prospective tenants to indicate their interest.

Knight Frank managing partner in Bulawayo, Oswald Nyakunika, said the shopping mall would be located at the intersection of Livingstone Way and Kazungula Road at the entrance to Victoria Falls town.

“The development will be highly visible and abutting these major roads from Kazungula, Bulawayo and the airport into town,” Nyakunika said. He said with store sizes ranging from 40 square metres to 1 800 square metres, the shopping mall would accommodate a full complement of shops from pharmacies to banks, to restaurants, clothing stores, hardware and electrical appliances shops.

“Customers will also have access to curio and art wares, medical suites, tour operators and travel agents, as well as an Internet café,” he said. The largest shop will be approximately 1 800 square metres and can accommodate a large retail warehouse, a wholesale cash and carry, superstore or large supermarket.The mall is expected to service Victoria Falls and the nearby towns of Hwange and Lupane, as well as Livingstone in Zambia, Kasane in Botswana and Kazungula at the borders of Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.

The estate agent expert said amenities would include ample parking in a secure environment, tastefully designed street furniture, vendor stalls and shopping benches.“The shopping mall is expected to be a blue tooth and Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing patrons to be in touch with the centre events and surf the web free of charge,” said Nyakunika. He said what makes the town attractive is that it is the centre of attraction in a vast tourist region that straddles across the borders of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.

“Victoria Falls has a local population of 65 000 inhabitants complemented by tourist arrivals estimated at 300 000 per year and forecast to reach 1 million per year by 2015,” he said.The development by Calwood Investments is a giant step as the property market lumbers on a recovery path after a decade of struggling.

On the state of the property market in the country, Nyakunika said development had been affected by the liquidity crunch.“Even though development costs have stabilised there is a severe liquidity crisis and as such there are very few development projects going on.“This huge development that we are undertaking is one of the few in the country,” he said. Nyakunika said they were hoping to marry the staying power of the property market with the allure of the tourism sector.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Botswana project poses fresh threat to Victoria Falls

THE attractiveness of the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, is under threat if Botswana goes ahead with its planned extraction of large volumes of water from Chombe River for use
in its interior, a cabinet minister has said.

This would affect foreign currency inflows for both Zimbabwe and Zambia pumped in by tourists who throng the falls annually to witness the 'smoke that thunders.'
Botswana has notified other southern African countries of its intentions to abstract some 30 cubic metres from the Chombe River where it meets the Zambezi River for a planned irrigation scheme in the Pandamatenga area and for domestic water supply.

The Minister of Water Resources Development and Management, Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo recently told parliament that Zimbabwe was considering Botswana's submission.

He, however, noted the project might have serious repercussions on Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of water in the world, which is 1,708 metres wide.

"They have notified us because the Zamcom (Zambezi Watercourse Commission) agreement requires them to do that and we are now considering their submissions," said Sipepa-Nkomo. "Though more studies may be necessary, it looks like 30 cubic metres is a lot of water which might deprive the attractiveness of the 
Victoria Falls."
Remarkably preserved in its natural state, Victoria Falls inspires visitors as much today as it did to David Livingstone in the 1860s. The falls and the surrounding area have been declared National Parks and a World Heritage Site, thus preserving the area from excessive commercialisation.

The local people call it 'Mosi-oa-Tunya' - the smoke that thunders.

Presently, Victoria Falls World Heritage Site status is at the centre of huge furore following the construction of a restaurant in the rain forest. The National Parks and Wildlife Authority of Zimbabwe partnered with
Shearwater and constructed a new development within the core zone of the Victoria Falls World Heritage Site.

During the festive season, more than 14 000 tourists visited the Victoria Falls rainforest while major hotels and lodges were fully booked.
Sipepa-Nkomo said Mozambique had also notified Zimbabwe of its intention to construct Mphanda Nkuwa Dam which is set to generate some 2275MW of electricity for the country. The dam site, which is on the Zambezi River, lies between Cabora Bassa dam and the City of Tete in Mozambique.

"This project is an advantage to Zimbabwe because we can import more power from Mozambique," Sipepa-Nkomo said.