TOURIST arrivals at Zimbabwe’s premier resort, Victoria Falls, were down 5% in the first quarter of 2016 due to depreciation of regional currencies, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Employers’ Association of Tourism and Safari Operators president, Clement Mukwasi, told NewsDay that tourist arrivals were declining as regional currencies get weaker, making Zimbabwe more expensive compared to its neighbours.
The rand collapsed to over R16 against the United States dollar in June 2015 and as of yesterday it was trading at R14,8 against the greenback.
Giving his presentation on current and future trends in travel and tourism in Zimbabwe at the 2016 Tourism Convention held in Victoria Falls recently, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said the country has become a very expensive destination compared to other competitors in the region.
“There is very poor service in the tourism industry and personnel lack passion in serving customers, a major key to success in tourism business,” he said then.
Kaseke said brand Zimbabwe was not doing very well in major source markets and there was poor destination accessibility.
“(There is) lack of adequate and quality transport services (local, regional and international), and also an absence of a strong national airline, poor facilitation at ports, particularly Beitbridge, and also poor access to attractions — dysfunctional feeder roads,” he said.
He also said there was lack of real skills to drive efficient service delivery in the industry. Mukwasi said currently, hotels in the resort town were fully booked due to church conferences that were going on in Victoria Falls.
He envisaged a slight improvement in the second quarter when regional currencies were expected to stablise.