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Tuesday 29 January 2019

New 4-Star Hotel Set For Vic Falls

Ilala Lodge Hotel Group has commenced construction of a new luxury hotel on the banks of the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, following a Ground-breaking Ceremony held last week. The 4-star luxury hotel will be named the Palm River Lodge and marks a significant expansion to the Ilala Lodge Hotel Group.

Welcoming the construction of the Palm River Lodge, were honorary members of council, including the Honorable Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Matabeleland North Province, Honorable CDE. Richard Moyo and the Mayor of the Municipality of Victoria Falls, Cllr Dhlamini.
“Such expansion allows for the increased accommodation of various tourist activities which translates into an increase of our tourist arrival space,” said the Honorable Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Matabeleland North Province, Honorable CDE. Richard Moyo, “This project will also create a number of job opportunities for our people in the resort town of Victoria Falls and other supporting industries like the transport sector, arts and music industry.”
“In addition to boosting tourism and employment within Victoria Falls, the USD$ 15 million investment marks a distinguished expansion for the Ilala Lodge Hotel Group,” said Jim Brown, CEO of Ilala Lodge Hotel Group, “Given the continued growth of Victoria Falls as one of the premier destinations in Africa, we feel there is room in the market to offer another high-quality, luxury hotel for the discerning traveller.”
The idyllic location of the Palm River Lodge offers an unmatched panoramic view of the renowned Zambezi River, just a short distance from the mighty Victoria Falls waterfall. Guests staying at the hotel will experience the tranquil riverside location, its beautiful landscapes and the wildlife that roams within.
The Palm River Lodge takes inspiration from a rich local history of Victoria Falls town, as illustrated in its high ceilings, spacious verandas and iconic Queenslander style architecture. It will cover a total floor space approx. 8000 square metres.
Inside reflects a modern, natural and stylish elegance, with 73 generously-sized deluxe guest rooms, a luxurious presidential suite, two honeymoon suites and two private villas. The Palm River Lodge will also offer a relaxing spa, state-of-the-art gym facilities and an outdoor swimming pool.
The hotel will present two unique dining experiences, including indoor รก la carte fine-dining and outdoor dining on the banks of the Zambezi River.  Guests may also delight in luxury river cruises on board the Ra-Ikane River Cruise, owned by the Ilala Lodge Hotel Group.
Striving for first-class service with immaculate attention to detail, the plus 4-star hotel is scheduled for completion in June 2020.

Monday 28 January 2019

Land Shortage Hits Zimra's Victoria Falls Border Project

The shortage of land is undermining efforts by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to implement the on-stop-border border post concept at Victoria Falls, it has emerged.
Government is establishing one-stop-border concepts at the country's ports of
entry with Chirundu border on the boundary with Zambia the only facility so far completed.
The programme involves expansion of Victoria Falls, Kazungula, Plumtree, Forbes and Beitbridge border posts to enhance efficiency and improve trade by reducing time spent by travellers and cargo at the borders.
However, Zimra commissioner general Faith Mazani said there is no land for expansion of the Victoria Falls border.
"We do want to facilitate the one-stop border in Victoria Falls but we are restricted by the fact that this is a tourist area," she said.
"There is the game park, the river and railway line and we are looking at opportunity from local government where we can build our commercial facility to ensure that we live up to the smart border concept."
She was speaking at the recent commemoration of the International Customs Day in the resort town. The commemorations are held on the 26th January annually
Meanwhile, Zimra has adopted use of information communication technology systems and other innovative products at border posts to enhance efficiency.
"I am proud to intimate to you that the Electronic Temporary Import Permit project (e-TIP) has been so successful in dealing with the issue of border congestion at Beitbridge Border Post during this past festive season," said the Zimra boss.
"The project allowed travellers to pre-clear their vehicles online thereby reducing the congestion which often worked as a bottleneck to our travellers and tourists.
"We are now working at improving the e-TIP system so that visitors will spend an average of between 3 to 5 minutes to get their temporary import permits processed."
Source: Land Shortage Hits Zimra's Victoria Falls Border Project (28/01/19)

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Shearwater Explorers Village to add new rooms

 Shearwater Explorers Village (SEV) is set to expand its Victoria Falls property to 400 beds by mid-2019, following the success of the first 200 beds launched in 2018.

SEV has restaurants, recreational area and chalets on one side, and tenting on the other. It caters for all classes of tourists, from backpackers to luxury travellers.

SEV General Manager, Faith Madzivanyika, commented: “When we opened, Shearwater Explorers Village was a 200-bed facility. We are now expanding the facility; we hope that by mid-year we would have doubled the capacity that we initially created, to about 400 beds. Work is already in progress as we speak. Clearing of the construction site has started, but massive work is still to be done.”

Madzivanyika says the company is also looking at identifying other areas outside the resort town that require the type of accommodation service SEV is offering in Victoria Falls.

She says explorations are being carried out in the first half of the year so that by year-end SEV would have acquired land in the respective areas so that developments can start.

“We want to make sure that when tourists visit Victoria Falls they also do a Zimbabwe tour, where they go to Hwange, Matopo Hills, Great Zimbabwe, Harare, Mana Pools, Binga and come back to Victoria Falls, which can still be their exit point. We are already planning for that round-Zimbabwe tour in order to revive the economy of Zimbabwe through marketing all attraction sites that are marketable in Zimbabwe.”

Travellers from source markets such as China, South Africa, Europe and the Americas have already responded favourably to the route.

Victoria Falls currently has about 2 000 rooms, and requires about 500 more to cope with the anticipated increase in tourist arrivals this year and beyond.

Source: Shearwater Explorers Village to add new rooms (22/01/19)

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Zambia And Zimbabwe Offer Land To African Union For First SADC Multi-Billion Dollar Wakanda One Village Project

Zimbabwe and Zambia have offered 2,000 and 132 hectares of land respectively around the Victoria Falls area── which borders the two countries── for the construction of the Wakanda One Village.
The project will serve as the first of the project in the Southern African region and will comprise a 100-bed teaching hospital, a university and technical college, primary and secondary schools, day-care centres, three five-star hotels, game lodge, pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, agricultural farms and parks.
The infrastructure will also include a shopping centre, commercial office buildings, renewable power plants, a monorail around the complex and roads ready to support self-driving electric cars.
Zambia made its offer in March and Zimbabwe’s offer was confirmed by African Union Ambassador to the United States of America Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao at the recently held Intra African Trade Fair in Cairo, Egypt.
“I met His Excellency President Mnangagwa recently and he offered us 2000 hectares for the regional Wakanda One Village in Victoria Falls.
The offer comes after the Zambian Government offered some land across the river in Livingstone. We are looking at building a village transcending the borders of the two countries,” she told Zimbabwean journalist Sydney Kawadza in an interview.
The project targets Africans in the diaspora who want to help build the continent to the level they want it to be, Ambassador Chihombori-Quao said earlier this year.
“You know, when you talk about a ‘good Africa’ or returning home, many people say ‘Well, [Africa] is not what I’m used to,’ and to that I always tell them, ‘Then build the home you want,” she said at the launch of the African Diaspora Global Bank.
“We don’t even realize we are on autopilot waiting for the White man to build this ‘civilization’ for us. So we are taking our destiny into our own hands and creating something built for and by the people of the African diaspora,” she added.
The African Union said it will first sensitize the Diaspora before forming an investment board from all the regions of Africa headquartered in Washington DC to manage the fund and decide on the value of shares and conversion factors.
“The establishment of an Investment Board should lead to the opening up of the African Diaspora Savings and Investment Accounts in the four banks. We will also encourage African Diaspora to open individual accounts with a minimum deposit of US$10 a month while the board will decide on the transition to a credit union,” Dr Chihombori-Quao said.
“We are looking at raising at least US$2 billion in the next two years with the first ground breaking set for the end of the year 2020 … We are going to build the Africa that we want so those Diasporans who say I cannot go home because home is not what I am used to will make it what they want,” she added.
Dr. Chihombori-Quao also revealed that Kenya and Tanzania have also pledged land for East Africa’s Wakanda One Village project.

Monday 21 January 2019

RBZ introduces “RTGS Dollars”

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya said RTGS, bond notes and coins are to be immediately denominated as ‘RTGS dollars’.
He said the legal instrument giving effect to this has been prepared and will be gazetted soon. He said RTGS dollars have become one of the currencies in the currency bucket of the multi-currency system of the economy. The RTGS dollars shall be used by all entities in Zimbabwe for the purposes of pricing of goods and services, debts, accounting and settlement of transactions.
Mangudya said the central bank has put in place measures to maintain stability as we establish an interbank foreign exchange market in Zimbabwe to formalise the exchange of Bond and RTGS with USD and other currencies”

Saturday 19 January 2019

Victoria Falls International Airport Has the Capacity to Welcome More Airlines

Victoria Falls International Airport has significant capacity to welcome more flights, And the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe is working towards a greater spread of arrival times with carriers to limit peak congestion times for passenger handling, a tourism industry leader says.
Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) chief executive Ross Kennedy said the tourism industry in Victoria Falls is working very closely with all of the public sector departments and ministries to ensure that this demand is matched by service delivery enhancements.
"This includes latest software systems for immigration to accelerate visa processing at Victoria Falls Airport, more immigration desks and officers at Kazungula, and similar such initiatives," Kennedy said.

"Victoria Falls Airport is certainly starting to play its role as a regional tourism hub and the varied routes available now make it an obvious southern Africa itinerary access point," he said.
"With Zimbabwe being widely tipped by the international tourism industry and mainstream media, as one of THE hot destinations for 2018/19 and beyond one can certainly see more long haul airlines eyeing Victoria Falls as a new route."
There was an 18.5 per cent increase in hotel occupancy in Victoria Falls in 2017 compared to 2016, with an additional 35,730 rooms sold across ten hotels, which together have 1,125 rooms available per night and measure arrivals monthly. A surge in December 2017 saw this year on year increase rise to 24 per cent for the month.
"These growth rates in key ratios are way in excess of regional industry norms, and add substantial weight to the fact that Victoria Falls is back and the future is looking very bright," Kennedy said.
Reports from industry colleagues reflect occupancies from January to April this year compared to the same period last year, are up by 30 per cent in advance bookings, he said.
"This is extremely positive news as the first quarter is usually the poorest business period in the destination," Kennedy said.
The new $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport, enabling long haul wide-bodied aircraft to land, was opened in 2016 and has since welcomed three new international airlines to the destination, while existing ones have increased capacity.
Source: Victoria Falls International Airport Has the Capacity to Welcome More Airlines (18/01/19)

Saturday 12 January 2019

Tourists arrivals to Zim increase by 4%

TOURIST arrivals to Zimbabwe increased 4% in the nine months to September 2018 to 1,8 million from 1,7 million in the corresponding period the previous year as international perceptions of the country as a worthwhile destination saw a marked shift.

This translated to a 6% increase in hotel occupancies across the country.

The engagements which began early last year with a trip to Spain, Asia and the Middle East saw Asia emerging as the top tourism source with a 25% increase to 79 858 from 63 744, followed by Oceania which increased 18% to 32 649.

Visitors from Europe increased 11% to end the period at 70 440.

However, there was an 18% decline on tourists from the Middle East closing the period at 4 479 from 5 448 visitors, while a marginal 2% increase was recorded for Africa.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) head of corporate affairs Godfrey Koti told businessdigest that the organisation is working closely with the Tourism minister to develop products suitable for diverse markets.

“We have been making International engagements as ZTA led by the minister. As a result, we were slated as number three on the must-visit country in 2019 by Lonely Planet travel guide. Above us were Sri-lanka and Germany. We were also on the top 10 list on the Telegraph. The international engagement programmes assisted in the increase of inflow of tourism. We went to Spain in January, (and) to Asia in the Middle East with the minister directly as the tourism authority. We were centering our engagements around openness of business in the country,” he said.

During the period, national hotel occupancy shot up to 53% from 47% with Beigtbridge recording the highest occupancy movement at 21% followed by Hwange which recorded 1% change from the 22% recorded in 2017.

Victoria Falls and Bulawayo recorded 5% change while Harare was at 10%.

Thursday 3 January 2019

Livingstone records increase in tourist arrivals for 2018

Livingstone recorded an increase in tourist arrivals for the year 2018 with over 250, 000 tourists having visited the city.
Acting Regional Tourism Development and Research Officer for South-West region, Gilpin Sikate said Livingstone had recorded a total number of 250,182 tourist visits from January to November 2018 as compared to 183,480 visits recorded in 2017.
In response to a press query to ZANIS in Livingstone, Mr. Sikate said the tourists visited various sites, and popular among them was the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, the National Museum and the Victoria Falls.
He said the Mosi-O-Tunya National Park recorded a total of 18,883 tourist visits, while the National Museum received 29,478 visits and the Victoria Falls had a total of 201,821 visits during the period under review.
Mr. Sikate however, noted that in 2017, the Mosi-O-Tunya National Park had 21,945 international visitors; the National Museum recorded 28,171 and the Victoria Falls had 133,364 visitors.
“The statistics also indicate that the National Park recorded a decrease in domestic visitors in 2018 with only 8,859 visiting the tourist site as compared to 11,615 in 2017,” he said.
Mr. Sikate attributed the overall increase in the number of international tourist arrivals to marketing efforts and tourism product development within Livingstone by the Ministry of Tourism.