2011 July 16
TOURIST’s arrivals in the resort town of Victoria Falls have been negatively affected by the fuel shortages in the neighboring South Africa caused by the current strike of petroleum industry and other related manufacturing sectors workforce.
According to South African media, pump stations have run out of fuel as they have not received supplies from the petroleum industry because of the ongoing strike. At the same time the reports also indicated that some services stations with the precious liquid have been forced to close for fear of intimidation by unruly elements. In separate interviews, tour and adventure operators here said they hope that the two-week strike ends soon as business was being affected.
Khanondo Safaris managing director, Mr Ben Tesa, said a lot of “drive Inns” have been forced to stay home because of fuel shortages. He also added that the effects were also now being felt in Botswana with that government putting restriction in purchasing fuel by refusing travelers to put fuel in containers.
“Yes arrivals have been affected by the fuel shortages in South Africa. As a result some travelers have cancelled their trip to Victoria Falls.
“A lot of tourists also came through Botswana but they have failed to do so as service stations in that country are no longer allowing travelers to put fuel in containers,” said Mr Tesa.
Mr Tesa said the strike was coming at a bad time considering that the weekend was a public holiday in Botswana. “We were also anticipating high arrivals from Tswana’s as they are on public holiday this weekend. But they cannot travel because of fuel shortages.”
Mr Clement Mukwasi, the Shearwater Adventures, group public relations manager also concurred with Mr Tesa. He said tourists to the resort town arrived by road, train and air networks adding that road network had been affected by the ongoing strike in South Africa. “For ordinary people the strike in South Africa has nothing to do with
them, but unfortunately, there are ripple effects like the cancellation of travelling logistics by potential tourists due to shortages of fuel.
“We hope it ends soon so that we maximise of the public and school holidays that are coming up,” said Mr Mukwasi.
South African manufacturing sector’s members have been on a two-week long strike demanding salary increments of between seven and 14 percent. However, a stalemate has been reached as the employers are only prepared to pay between six to 12 percent – a figure seen as an insult by the workers unions.