Victoria Falls Benefiting from World Cup
HOTEL occupancy in Zimbabwe’s premier tourist resort, Victoria Falls, has shot up to 80 percent ahead of the Fifa World Cup soccer showcase to be held in South Africa.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority board member and Victoria Falls tour operators representative Mr William Chuma said there has been overwhelming growth, forcing industry players to stretch their services to try and meet the surging demand.“We have begun to witness steady growth in arrivals into the Victoria Falls region and our market visits continue to give us positive signals of an upturn.
“Hotel occupancies are significantly higher than the first quarter.
“We expect the second quarter to grow as well and we are bullish about the third and fourth quarters of 2010,” said Mr Chuma.
He applauded the move taken by national airline Air Zimbabwe to re-introduce the Victoria Falls-Johannesburg flight as the service restores confidence in the tourism industry.
Air Zimbabwe last week re-introduced the direct-link Victoria Falls-Johannesburg flight. “The re-introduction of this flight is therefore such a welcome move and we applaud the Air Zimbabwe team for their courage and foresight.
“As a private sector representative, I pledge full support. We will engage the airline to develop attractive, viable and profitable packages.“I hope we can all, rather than expend our energies on the past, resolve to look into the future,” added Mr Chuma.
Victoria Falls Hotel, which has 161 rooms, is projecting to rake in between US$8 million and US$10 million during the Fifa World Cup.
Tourism industry players said the tide was turning and that many tourists were flocking to the Zimbabwean side to get a better view of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The players eager to reap economic benefits from the World Cup tournament have in recent months been busy sprucing up tourist destinations and hotels in a bid to lure World Cup teams and visitors.
Zimbabwe’s tourism industry has been on a recovery path since the inception of an inclusive Government last year.
The tourism sector is expected to bring the quickest turnaround ahead of other sectors such as manufacturing, mining and agriculture.
The industry, once the backbone of the economy, declined by 22 percent in 2008.
Last year, only 223 000 tourists came, generating US$29,1 million.
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