by Susan Reynard
August 23rd, 2011
Feedback from Go To Victoria Falls members reveals that arrivals into Victoria Falls have seen a turnaround. The monthly fair market share statistics at the end of July show a substantial increase from last year as well as previous years. This is in direct contrast to the current tourism arrival figures in other Southern African destinations.
According to occupancy records at seven different hotels, covering a total of 1 008 rooms, arrivals into the destination were up by 20%, based on the same seven-month period last year (January to July). This translates into 13 193 extra rooms occupied (63 per night) over the same period in 2010.
Several hotels reported their best July since 2000, at 70%+ occupancies, and in some cases, July was among the best three or four months ever experienced at these hotels.
Forecasts for August to November look promising for the destination, with even greater occupancies predicted according to the in system occupancies for these hotels. There are reports of 80%+ and perhaps even the possibility of a few at 90%+. In addition, average room rates and Revenue Per Available Room (Revpar) are rising in tandem.
The economic and downstream benefits of this arrival trend are obvious as international and regional tourists, along with Zimbabwean visitors, spend ever increasing amounts of disposable income on their holidays. All areas of tourism, which include hotels, transfers, activities, restaurants, national parks, curio sellers, fuel stations, supermarkets and suppliers of goods, should see an upswing in revenue as a result of these increased arrivals.
According to Ross Kennedy, CEO of Africa Albida, “Victoria Falls Safari Lodge had the best July occupancy in 10 years at 70%. The Boma Place of Eating had its second best July ever. Only July 2007 saw more covers per night at an average of 183, while 2011 had on average 163 per night.”
Ilala Lodge Hotel GM, Roddy Meiring, says: “The hotel saw a massive 87% occupancy in July 2011, which is up 15% on last year.”
GM of The Victoria Falls Hotel, Karl Snater, adds: “We have seen an increase in occupancies from 2010 for all months except March, with July showing a massive 21% increase in occupancy from last year.”
These statistics show that while many destinations in Southern Africa might be seeing a decline in visitors, Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side is on the up and once again being recognised as a world-class destination.