The Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, is enjoying record tourist numbers and healthy forward bookings, says Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) Chief Executive, Ross Kennedy.
He says monthly measurements across 10 hotels in Vic Falls revealed a 13% increase in occupancy, with more than 5 000 additional rooms sold over the first three months of 2018, compared to the same period last year.
“Talking to colleagues in the town, it is clear that forward bookings are much stronger than usual for the rest of 2018, with a few short troughs here and there,” he said.
Other indicators included a 25% growth in revenue across 10 hotels over the first three months of 2018, compared to the first quarter of 2017; as well as a 11% increase in RevPAR.
“The number of new rooms either under construction or about to open adds further evidence of the confidence that existing and new investors are showing confidence in Victoria Falls as a tourist destination,” said Kennedy.
Vic Falls was not alone in drawing large numbers of tourists, with nearby Hwange National Park enjoying a busy year last year, also experiencing significant growth and new investment into new camps and lodges, he said. “There are four or five new camps and lodges that have opened or are about to open in the Hwange area, as well as two or three new investors into existing National Parks’ concessions.”
“On the back of this very clear demand for Victoria Falls and the region, airlines such as SA Airlink are increasing capacity on the Cape Town – Victoria Falls route from July 2018,” said Kennedy.
Reports from Matopos, Mana Pools and Kariba also suggest that arrivals and interest are significantly up, but air access needs to be improved to these destinations, and the self-drive market – local, regional and international – to return. “Together with this growth trend, the industry looks forward to the day when our national airline, Air Zimbabwe, is flying tourists around Zimbabwe to most of our incredible destinations with improved access for domestic tourists and visitors alike.”