From : Newzimbabwe.com

10 July 2012

By : Gilbert Nyambabvu

UK-BASED luxury travel company Cox & Kings has announced a return to Zimbabwe, some 10 years after quitting the country as its political and economic crisis began to unravel.

The company has not offered trips to Zimbabwe since 2002 but officials said they believe the political and economic situation in the country since the formation of a coalition government after violent elections in 2008.

Said Cox & Kings’ Africa Product Manager, Louise Stanion said: “Zimbabwe offers one of the most comprehensive and varied African safari experiences on the continent.

“We have chosen to work with partners who help their local communities and ensure that the vast majority of the money earned from tourism goes into the hands of the people who really need it.

“The local Zimbabweans are thrilled to see tourists back in their country. Expect to be welcomed with genuine smiles and hospitality.”

Despite its checkered recent political and economic history, Zimbabwe is oneof southern Africa’s most enchanting countries, offering stunning landscapes and superb wildlife viewing combined with a fascinating culture and history”.

Cox & Kings are offering an 11-day/8-night fly-safari that beigns in Bulawayo and includes safari drives in Matabo Hills National Park and Hwange National Park culminating at the Victoria Falls.

Alternatively, visitors can go on a “Grand Tour of Zimbabwe”, a 13-day/11-night private journey, with a personal driver/guide accompanying throughout.

Although tourism is yet to return to its pre-2002 peak, the sector has been one of the fastest growing since 2008, taking advantage of an end to political tensions and the return of economic stability and recovery.

The major global carriers which had given the country a wide berth over the last few years have also started returning, led by Dubai-based Emirates which recently announced it would increase its frequency to daily flights into Harare beginning October 1.

The government is also planning a multi-million dollar publicity campaign aimed at promoting the country in the major Western source markets ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation congress due to be held at Victoria Falls next year.

Tourism minister, Walter Mzembi recently said the sector would contribute 8.2 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next decade.