In an interview in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said the actions by the operators almost led to Mr Rifai cancelling his trip to the country.
He, however, said while he understood that operators in Victoria Falls had not been officially told that the Victoria Falls Bridge will be closed before and during the signing ceremony of the Trilateral Host Agreement by President Mugabe and his Zambian counterpart Michael Sata, they had no right to tell the outside world that the signing ceremony was going to derail or stop tourism activities at the bridge and between Livingstone and Victoria Falls.
“We have heard that some players had written to the Secretary General complaining about his coming here. While we might not have communicated with them they should not have done that. We will do things and involve the people of Victoria Falls,” he said.
“We cannot blame them for trying to discourage the secretary general from coming but they should have come to us. This was an element of sabotage and we say no to that, it is a very bad behaviour and we need to rein them in,” said Mr Kaseke.
Meanwhile, Mr Kaseke said his authority was going to consider giving back another star to Elephant Hills resort after Mr Rifai commended the facility as first class.
The hotel had been downgraded to a four-star from a five-star after a fall in standards.
However, Mr Rifai described it as a first class facility after inspecting it.
“Yes they have impressed the secretary general and if they continue we will give them another star,” he said.
Source: Tour operators in ‘sabotage’ attempt (4/6/12)