Return to Zimbabwe Awareness Campaign
What is the Return to Zimbabwe Awareness Campaign about?
The Return to Zimbabwe Awareness Campaign was initiated by a group of like-minded tourism professionals and operators who utterly believe in the destination and Zimbabwe’s tourism products, and wish to see current and potential source markets genuinely understanding how much we have to offer as a world-class destination. The campaign was born during a conversation at World Travel Market, with colleagues from Zimbabwe.
The key focus of the awareness campaign will be to re-educate in some cases and educate in other cases, in-bound travel agents and operators, as well as out-bound tour operators from key source markets. This relates to the fact that the modern 2013/2014 Zimbabwe, is a very different country and destination to that which many may think, or believe, from events and media coverage of the last 15 or so years.
Why would you choose Zimbabwe as a travel destination?
Zimbabwe is a country so rich in diversity, from a tourist’s point of view. It is a country that has remarkable hospitable and welcoming people, and has a range of destinations and experiences, ranging from wildlife opportunities, national parks, lakes, rivers, dams and choices of destination to meet most needs of a tourist on the African continent. The diversity ranges from the obvious Victoria Falls, to a remote 4 or 6 bedded tented camp, in the epitome of wilderness being guided by some of the finest guides in the world. It is a destination that offers so much choice to a tourist in terms of matching budget and expectations to people’s aspirations. Across the country and the very many tourism destinations, the choice in options for transport, accommodation, food, cultural interaction, art, history, sport and other leisure choices is immense, alongside amazing wildlife experiences.
What progress has been made on the Victoria Falls Airport, and what impact will these developments have on the tourism industry?
The Victoria Falls Airport project is thus far on course, with the Victoria Falls Airport Manager advising us two weeks ago that the new 4 km runway which is designed and built to receive long-haul, wide-body jets, should be ready in May 2014. The new terminal building to handle this new and increased traffic and larger aircraft, is scheduled to open in April 2015. So far, all reports from the authorities indicate that the project is on schedule. This development is a major boost for tourism to Zimbabwe, and the region, as it will establish Victoria Falls very clearly as the new hub of regional leisure tourism.
In addition to this, the access created for the rest of Zimbabwe will play a significant part in the growth of the tourism industry across the country. Air-lift capacity and access are fundamental to growth and development of tourism across Africa, and this new airport will be a significant enhancement to the entire African tourism network.
How have tourism arrival trends in 2013 differed to that of 2012?
The tourism arrival trends have differed very clearly, in so much as the arrival numbers in the area have increased compared to that of 2012, and are continuing to show positive growth.
Whilst Victoria Falls can happily reflect on growth in excess of 20% over 2012, down-stream benefits of this increase are being felt across the tourism sector in Zimbabwe.
Enhanced international long-haul access to Harare and the region will further add to making Zimbabwe an attractive proposition for pleasure and business travelers alike. A further very positive trend is the increase in the numbers of Zimbabwe residents who are once again enjoying the benefits and splendour of their own country, be it self-drive or fly-in.