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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Livingstone runs out of bed space

Source: Livingstone runs out of bed space (Zambia Daily Mail (21-04-14)

Several visitors who came from Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces without prior booking for bed space spent hours moving from one lodge to the next seeking accommodation while some crossed over to Zimbabwe.

Livingstone Tourism Association chairperson Alex Muntali confirmed the development in an interview, saying the association was overwhelmed by the huge number of visitors in the city.

“We are really overwhelmed and we wish things would be like this throughout the year. What is interesting is that a lot of the visitors that came are Zambians,” he said.

During the short holiday, the tourist capital was the centre of attraction for big gatherings such as the Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) path-finders camp meeting that brought together 4,500 guests from over 10 southern African countries and 450 engineers that held their annual general meeting here.

The city was also a haven for Zambians of Asian origin that visited the city in large numbers to see the Victoria Falls and had meals along the Zambezi River, where they camped during the day.

Mr Muntali said there is potential for domestic tourism in Zambia, which should be tapped by the Zambia Tourist Board to bridge the dry spell of seven months of no business experienced by tour operators.

He said lack of accommodation experienced is a wake-up call for more investment in hotels and lodges. And Senior Chief Mukuni says the city experienced overwhelming response from the normal 40 percent occupancy levels in lodges and hotels to 100 percent.

“For countries such as Kenya and Ghana, the 100 percent occupancy is a normal trend. As a country, we should position ourselves to tap into the domestic market,” he said.

Chief Mukuni said this Easter holiday has beaten record of guests for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation gathering as those visitors were not holiday makers and were booked in selected hotels.

“At Mukuni Big Five, we had a lot of path-finders who came for the walk with the elephants, lions and cheetahs. It was good but at the end of the day both workers and the animals were very tired. This is a very large group,” he said.

Livingstone town clerk Vivian Chikoti, who had a problem on Sunday to secure a boat cruise for her visitors, said the city was alive with a lot of visitors sampling all the tourism attraction offered.

“The city is very busy with so many visitors, drying up bed space and the entire boats on the Zambezi River for the cruise are all fully booked. This is very good for the city and the people of Livingstone,” she said.

The local airlines flying into Livingstone were all fully booked forcing a lot of families to drive down into the tourist capital causing traffic jams during the period.

Source: Livingstone runs out of bed space (Zambia Daily Mail (21-04-14)

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