DAVID Livingstone Hotel plans to lay off 30 workers this month if the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) does not reduce the K15 gate park fee that local tourists are required to pay at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.
ZAWA has pegged gate park fees at K15 and US$10 for local and foreign tourists, respectively, at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Livingstone.
David Livingstone Hotel director Steve McCormick said his hotel has started losing clients to Zimbabwe due to the recently introduced gate park fees by ZAWA.
Mr McCormick, who is also Safari Lodge and Spa Livingstone director, said the hotel is considering closing down because it is losing business as a result of the newly introduced gate park fees by ZAWA.
“We have lost 43 percent of our clients ever since the ZAWA gate park fee was introduced as Zimbabwe is the next alternative,” Mr McCormick said.
He was speaking to journalists shortly after a consultative meeting with the Livingstone Tourism Association (LTA) and Minister of Tourism and Arts Jean Kapata in Livingstone on Saturday.
Mr McCormick said eight companies that take tourists to his lodge and hotel have cancelled their contracts. “The companies that bring us tourists have cancelled their contracts with us and we have lost about eight contracts, which has resulted in us losing 1,000 bed spaces, and at David Livingstone Hotel, we shall lay off about 30 workers if the situation continues,” Mr McCormick said.
He said the companies are now taking the tourists to Zimbabwe instead of bringing them to Zambia.
Mr McCormick also said local people who go to drink beer at the Safari Lodge during the happy hour have stopped. “We have been in this business for over 20 years, and we have been paying ZAWA When the people go on the boat cruise, we shall collect the park fee for them,” Mr McCormick said.
He also dismissed the assertion that the loss of business is as a result of the department of immigration asking for yellow fever vaccination certificates from tourists.
Mr McCormick attributed the loss of business to the newly introduced gate park fees by ZAWA. On Friday, Vice-President Guy Scott said local people have been denied access to the river because of the gate park fees introduced by ZAWA. Dr Scott said he is aware that ZAWA needs money but this is not the right way to generate revenue.
“How can you say that tourists are not coming, when you are collecting money like this?” Dr Scott said. Ms Kapata assured Dr Scott that she would resolve the matter.
Livingstone hotel to lay off 30 workers if... (Zambian Daily Mail 24/06/14)