from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS – TOURISM stakeholders have implored authorities to lure more airlines into Zimbabwe, following the decision by Comair to suspend operations to the country.
The airline based in neighbouring South Africa, from where it operated British Airways and Kulula, is doomed amid viability challenges.
Comair was among the airlines that flew into Victoria Falls from various destinations.
“Now that we are out of COVID-19, we need more airlines so that we start bringing in volumes,” said a tour operator.
“We are almost sure Comair might not come back. We need to aggressively market our destination out there to attract other airlines,” the official said.
Victor Sibanda, a photographic safari operator, said, “We need connectivity to every corner of the world. This will bring more tourists and also promote downstream industry like village tourism to benefit the local community.”
Winnie Muchanyuka, the newly-appointed Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive officer concurred.
She said rigorous marketing was key to the future of the country’s tourism sector post COVID-19.
“We need to come together and build team tourism Zimbabwe and market this country as one for the destination to become prominent and regain pre-COVID ranking,” Muchanyuka said.
Following her appointment, she has been meeting stakeholders around the Southern African country.
ZTA is planning to roadshows and exhibitions to drum up support for the tourism industry.
“Tourism is a very important pillar of the economy, hence the need to bring operators together and have tourism booming again,” Muchanyuka said.
Prospects for the industry are bright following infrastructure upgrades by government but an aggressive marketing campaign must complement such efforts.
That is according to the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe.
“We are looking at good times ahead of us,” Wengai Nhau, the organisation’s president, said.
“Government has been upgrading airports. The job is now on us to aggressively market our facilities and destination,” Nhau said.
In 1999, Zimbabwe had 45 international airlines flying into the country.
Currently, there are less than 20.
– CAJ News