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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Huge festive pickings for tourism sector

Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls

HOLIDAY makers who visited Victoria Falls during the festive season enjoyed up to 30 percent discount on a combination of activities, as operators also smiled all the way to the bank due to high subscription of clients.
Arrivals surged last week as thousands thronged the country’s prime resort town for the annual three-day Victoria Falls Carnival which ended in the early hours of Monday. The resort town has been a hive of activity since last week as people criss-crossed to enjoy different kinds of activities such as bungee jumping, gorge swing, tour of the Rainforest and helicopter rides among others.
Employers Association of the Tourist and Safari Operators president, Mr Clement Mukwasi, said this year’s festive season — driven by the carnival — has raised hopes for a brighter 2018.

“The town is full and operators were stretched to maximum capacity for both activities and accommodation. The popular events were the tour of the Rainforest and the Flight of Angels (helicopter flight) while there was also a huge surge in high adrenalin activities such as bridge jumps and gorge swing. The thing is we were stretched to the brim both in human resource and in equipment,” said Mr Mukwasi.

He added: “There were discounts of up to 30 percent for groups and for those booking a combination of activities because we are encouraging numbers. This is a deliberate action to combine activities so that people have a feel of what the destination has to offer than for one to come and only do boat cruise or bungee jumping without sampling other activities.”

A majority of clients, Mr Mukwasi said, were from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia while a significant number were also from other countries across the globe. He said on average, the age group was 35 years, an indication of a high rate of uptake of tourism by the youths.

“If you look at the ages, on average the clients we received are 35-years-old and that’s the future of tourism. We feel this is an indication of what’s going to happen next year and in future hence we expect good fortunes. Mr Mukwasi said while the carnival period is short, operators were buoyed by the confidence shown by visitors to Victoria Falls.

“The indication by most people is that they want to come back again with their families. We had a lot of tourism agents and travel journalists who we hope will be our ambassadors as they expressed pleasure and promised to tell the correct story of our destination,” said Mr Mukwasi.

He noted that during this period, there were no major negative events saying this is good for the organisers especially the way they invested in technology where the payment system was not a challenge as people used plastic money.

“Tourism is a seasonal business and we all know we are going into the dry months of January and February where domestic tourism will be very low while very few international tourists will come through hence we urge operators to wisely use whatever they made during this short period to cater for the first quarter.

“We hope the show of confidence is going to be replicated throughout the year so that companies can regain losses that may have been made during other times,” added Mr Mukwasi.

He urged locals to partner each other to clean the town to retain its pristine environmental cleanliness after the carnival.

Source: Huge festive pickings for tourism sector (03/01/18)

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