Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls

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UNWTO 2013? Bring it on!

UNWTO 2013? Bring it on!

UNWTO 2013?  Bring it on!
TOM VARLEY

Zimbabwe Council for Tourism president Glenn Stutchbury says his members are leaving no stone unturned to show off the best of Zimbabwe during the meeting of the world’s travel industry leaders, policy makers and media, the UNWTO General Assembly in 2013.

“There’s no doubt about the increasing levels of confidence in Zimbabwe as a destination, as shown by the return of major international carriers and desire of others to start operating into the country,” said Stutchbury, citing the introduction of Emirates and KLM, and increased frequencies of carriers already flying to Zimbabwe.

Hotels in the World Heritage Site resort of Victoria Falls have blocked rooms for the anticipated 800 delegates who will be co-hosted with Livingstone, across the Zambezi River in Zambia.

“The General Assembly offers an opportunity for the business players in the Falls to up their game, and challenges us to improve what we believe is already an outstanding destination,” said Stutchbury.  “As industry we are extremely confident that we are well placed to deliver on accommodation, transport and activities to the visitors.

“We have accorded this event priority status and, as such, a high-powered ZCT team, led by vice-president (Hospitality) Francis Ngwenya and hotelier Derrick Kung and tour operator Barbara Murasiranwa are in close liaison with our government and other stakeholders as the Local Organising Committee,” said the president.
“Industry has responded to the call for product improvement in the sector by the Minister of Tourism. Viability of development and product improvement projects rely on the use of the SI124/2011 and the only factor preventing use of this intrument to full benefit is the interpretation of the SI by the Ministry of Finance. Industry is working closely with the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to get clarity on this critical issue.”

Stutchbury noted that the Zambian government had introduced SI69 which allows for duty free imports of all non-food goods for hotels, restaurants and cafés, inclusive of furniture, linen, glassware and the like. Clearly, he said, the Zambian Government was taking the UNWTO General Assembly and the resurgence of Zimbabwean tourism seriously.

Improvements across Victoria Falls are in progress and finance has been put in place to spruce up the town, and to ensure its enviable reputation for safety and tranquillity are maintained. The private sector is actively involved in this effort.

The ZCT President said he was pleased with the teamwork with the Tourism Ministry and Authority and the spirit of ‘all hands on deck’ to ensure delivery of the most memorable, ‘uniquely African’ General Assembly to date.

“The UNWTO General Assembly is not World Cup Soccer, it is a convergence of tourism professionals and technocrats to the destinations of Victoria Falls and Livingstone. When, and not if, we deliver, it will be the greatest endorsement of our destination. 

“The two towns have run at very good occupancies this high season and in hosting the UNWTO General Assembly we will be doing what we as industry players in Victoria Falls and Livingstone do best – look after visitors.”

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 11, Dec 2012)

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Victoria Falls