ZIM Private sector "Bring on UNWTO 2013"
ZIMBABWE TOURISM INDUSTRY READY FOR UNWTO 2013
UNWTO General Assembly, August 2013
"Bring it on" say Zimbabwe’s private sector tourism players!
Council for Tourism (ZCT) president Glenn Stutchbury, who leads the tourism business apex body 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.
“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 even more to start operating into the country,” he said, citing the introduction of Emirates and KLM, amongst others, and increased frequencies of air carriers already flying 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 the Zambian town of Livingstone, across the Zambezi River. The hotels have embarked on varying levels of refurbishment, with Africa Albida Tourism opening its impressive 20-room all-suite, butler-service Safari Club.
Atta's Southern Africa Director Ross Kennedy added " we are investing heavily in our resort and properties in Victoria Falls and Chobe, in product development, HR via training, as well as new product. Africa Albida Tourism will be well prepared for this Zimbabwe showcase next August"
The Rainbow Tourism Group’s A’Zambezi River Lodge underwent extensive upgrading and most recently well-known regional hospitality management firm Cresta Hospitality made its debut in the Falls, to run the Cresta Sprayview.
Activity operators in Victoria Falls, led by Shearwater and Wild Horizons among others, continue to offer a wide range of thrilling leisure options.
“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.
At the UNWTO last Site Inspection Visit at the end of August 2012, the inspection team gave the private sector’s efforts a thumbs-up.
“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 both Victoria Falls-based in support, are in close liaison with our Government and other stakeholders working as the Local Organising Committee”, said the president.
Mr Stutchbury paid tribute to the Zimbabwe Government for the support it had given Tourism, particularly in the form of duty exemption to enable recovery. He, however, said more needed to be done as the entire sprectrum of the tourism product needed renewal, including the commercial tourism vehicle fleet, boats, domestic air service and training.
Plans are afoot to spruce up the town, and to ensure Victoria Fall’s enviable reputation for safety and tranquillity are maintained. The private sector is actively involved in this effort.
He 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.
Mr Stutchbury concluded: “The UNWTO General Assembly will be the greatest endorsement of our destination at a time when we are emerging as a regional powerhouse”.
The Zimbabwe Council for Tourism’s members comprise the following:
AZTA – The Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agents
BAR - The Board of Airline Representatives
BOAZ - The Boating Operators Association of Zimbabwe
CEAZ – Catering Employers Association of Zimbabwe
HAZ – Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe
ITOZA – Inbound Tour Operators of Zimbabwe Association
SOAZ – Safari operators Association of Zimbabwe
ZIVRA – Zimbabwe Vehicle Rental Association.