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Zimbabwe-Zambia univisa being finalised
With Zambia and Zimbabwe having agreed to launch a univisa by August, tour operators have appealed for reasonable costs and a bureaucracy-free application process.
The project is a forerunner to a more extensive univisa, in which all countries of the SADC will participate.
UK-based travel specialists agree that there is a visitor market for a combination of both Zambia and Zimbabwe, especially among tourists who wish to see both sides of the Victoria Falls. The application process, however, has to be user-friendly.
Vivian McCarthy, Acacia Africa’s General Manager in London, said he believed the pilot univisa would boost tourism to both countries provided it was easy to obtain, on arrival at a border post or airport in either country. Kay Durden, Senior Product Manager for Abercrombie & Kent, said an online application would be ideal.
Tour operators also felt pricing was an issue. Said McCarthy: “If the pricing could be set at a rate slightly lower than the two countries’ visas purchased separately it would have an especial attraction in my view.”
An SADC univisa has long been under discussion but, according to Simba Mandinyenya, Acting Executive Director of RETOSA, the process was slow as it involved sectors outside tourism such as security, and multiple legal frameworks. It was not unusual for a univisa to launch with a pilot programme, as had been the case with the Schengen visa. He hoped that by the end of 2015 the visa would have expanded to include South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia and Mozambique.
The World Bank is funding logistical meetings enabling Zambian and Zimbabwean sub-committees to finalise frameworks for the pilot scheme, which is based on an open border policy instituted when both countries co-hosted the UNWTO general assembly in August last year.
Source: Now Media