Zimbabwe is a HOT international tourism destination again! That’s the view of an ebullient Ross Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Africa Albida Tourism Group (AAT), whose flagship property is the award-winning Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (VFSL).
Such a positive prognosis follows Zimbabwe’s annual participation in Southern Africa’s premier tourism showpiece, the four-day Indaba (Durban, 12-15 May), that Mr Kennedy exuberantly calls “simply brilliant…the best for AAT and our country as a destination since 1999.”
He reports that the AAT stand “was busy and constantly buzzing from 0900hrs on Saturday until 1700hrs on Tuesday, with little time for anything but good appointments between those hours and social networking at the end of each very satisfying day with many colleagues and supporters, new and old.”
On the Zimbabwe stand in the SADC Hall he said the “vibe and energy” were constant with Zimbabwe at the heartbeat of this positive atmosphere.”
Indaba was also the launch-pad for the new and exclusive Victoria Falls Safari Club, the VFSL’s butler-service-style 20-room wing now under construction as the most sublime address in the famous “Wonder of the World” tourist resort acclaimed also as the Adventure Capital of Africa. The stylish Club, featuring four superior suites and 16 club rooms, is set to open in August 2012.
“Our Club launch at Indaba, attended by our Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Engineer Walter Mzembi, elicited a very positive and excited response from a wide cross-section of the international trade,” said Kennedy, “but especially from the high-end and FIT (individual) agents and major tour operators. This included truly huge interest from existing source markets and, very happily, also from new markets, such as South America.”
The upshot of such positive interest is that many significant international tour operators have already featured The Club in their 2013 brochures, with a number of USA, Australian and European Union operators requesting special launch packages to promote in their markets.
“Zimbabwe is the HOT destination again for the next few years for sure,” exclaimed Kennedy. “It thus falls upon all of us in the industry to up our standards and deliver a top-class experience to capture and secure the market. We need more access and better internal flight options and we must strive to create the most user-friendly welcome and arrival at all points of entry versus our competitors and neighbours.”