The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Airzim Returns to Kariba

Kariba — AIR Zimbabwe is set to resume flights to Kariba as the country seeks to revive tourism through increased tourist inflows. Flights are tentatively set for resumption on August 1 this year after a seven year absence caused by unviable flows of traffic into Kariba. The flight will leave Harare for Kariba and later connect to Victoria Falls with the view to capture the traffic going to the well marketed and developed Victoria Falls.

Making the announcement here yesterday during a consultative meeting with stakeholders including tour operators and hoteliers, Air Zimbabwe sales and marketing manager Mr Christopher Kwenda, said an MA60 aircraft would fly in to the town three times a week with room for daily flights if traffic flow improved.

"We have taken heed of our stakeholders including Government to resume flights into Kariba to help in improving tourism in the town.

"A decision has been made and we will start with three flights per week and we need the support of everyone so that this becomes a success," he said.

Mr Kwenda said research had shown that the destination would be initially unviable and would need the support of Government and other stakeholders through concerted effort to market Kariba to boost volumes.

He urged players in the sector to weigh-in with reasonable pricing of their products as tourists generally viewed Kariba as an expensive destination.

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge and Spa chief operating officer, Mr Nicholas Milne, said more needs to be done to ensure that fees were reduced or waived.

"We have direct and indirect costs that arise from statutory payments to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, fixed bed-night levy of about US$5 per client which add up to the overall price.

"So we appeal to Government and relevant authorities to look into the issue if tourism is to be revived and regain its lustre in the town", he said.

Kariba Tourism and Business Indaba (KTBI) co-ordinator Mr Cephas Shonhiwa, said stakeholders including Government departments such as Parks and Wildlife Authority, ZTA, Municipality of Kariba, Lake Navigation and Zimra should review their levies if tourism was to grow in the town.

Hotel accommodation on average cost between US$100 and US$400 a night, while a boat cruise costs between US$25 and US$35 per head per cruise, while the Parks and Wildlife charges about US$5 per head.

Besides the ZTA levies of 2 percent, some hotels operate on generators owing to lack of electricity.

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