Victoria Falls Airport: Cold Water is A Warm Welcome

In a world first, a cold bottle of water will make a warm welcome for international arrivals at Victoria Falls Airport. The Zimbabwean welcome, to begin on Thursday, is aimed at making visitors, who sometimes face long queues at immigration, more comfortable.

Tour operator Blessing Munyenyiwa, who has spearheaded the initiative, said hospitality assistants would be on the ground at the airport for the next three months, to cover the peak tourist season.

“The main responsibilities for these staff will be to welcome all arrivals to Victoria Falls,  and hand out a cold bottle of water, ” Mr Munyenyiwa, managing director ofLove for Africa, said.

 “Where else in the world are you given a complimentary bottle of water as you enter into a country, and also have hospitality staff just to walk around and chat and see if everyone is okay?

“They’ll also point visitors in the right direction, ensure they are in the correct line, assist the elderly, those with disabilities and young families, and carry spare pens for filling out forms.

“We are going to make queuing as comfortable as possible and make it a great welcome into our country,” he said.

The hospitality assistants would wear t-shirts branded with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority slogan “Zimbabwe A World of Wonders” , he said.

Two staff would be working at the airport daily, while a third would be available to relieve on days off and at busier times, he said.

The initiative will cost the more than 20 local hotels and tourism operators involved $24,000, and will be in place every year over the peak tourist season.

The initiative was a joint venture between the tourism industry, the Department of Immigration, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

African Travel & Tourism Association Southern African director Ross Kennedy backed the initiative, saying: “This is the kind of public private sector co-operation that makes the Zimbabwe tourism industry so vibrant.

“This is an example of the kind of standards of service that the tourism industry will continue to implement once the new Victoria Falls Airport opens in 2015,” Mr Kennedy said.