The uni-visa, or Kaza visa, for Zambia and Zimbabwe, was introduced as a pilot project for the region when they co-hosted the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly in 2013 which saw tourists using a single visa to access the two countries. The visa was then officially launched on 28 November 2014 creating an unhindered corridor between the two countries.
The Kaza visa cost US$50 and was valid for up to 30 days as long as visitors remained within Zambia and Zimbabwe. It also covered day trips into Botswana across the Kazungula border. However, the facility was temporarily suspended early this year.
Zimbabwe and Zambia are now working together to bring back the uni-visa facility in an effort to spearhead the multi-destination approach. With the popularity of multi destination visits increasing exponentially, the uni-visa is a vital pull factor in terms of international tourist arrivals for both countries.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority exhibition stand during the Zambia Tourism Expo (ZATEX), which was held at the end of June in Lusaka Zambia, ZTA Head Africa and Middle East Mrs Praise Mazhandu revealed that the two countries were not competing but working together to ensure that tourism in the two countries is marketed jointly.
She said it was important for Zimbabwe to participate at this expo as Zambia remains the country’s second largest African market after South Africa with 327 559 visitors from the country recorded last year. She revealed that the Zambian market was mostly interested in facilities in Kariba.”With the changing trends in travel patterns, it is important for countries to work together to promote their destinations.
Multi destination visits are now common and Zimbabwe and Zambia share a lot of history and attractions hence the importance of supporting each other. We are not competing for visitors but complementing each other as destinations. It has been revealed that the uni-visa facility is set to commence in two months and this will help ease of travel for tourists,” she said.
Mrs Mazhandu also said there was growing interest for destination Zimbabwe from African market.
“We have had fruitful meetings with a number of buyers who have been making enquiries on our products as a destination.Interest in the destination is growing,” said Ms Mazhandu.
She said although interest was growing, issues of security and safety were still a concern among some buyers, but promised that ZTA was working on managing the perceptions.
“We are asked about how safe it is for people to visit Zimbabwe and we are doing our best for people to be aware of our destination and understand that all the negative news they hear about us is not true,” she said.
ZATEX was held from 27-29 June under the theme “One million tourists, One million opportunities”.
According to Zambia Tourism Agency chief executive officer Mr Felix Chaila, the second edition of ZATEX doubled in quality and size as 90 exhibitors attended the expo as compared to the inaugural 39 while 77 hosted buyers were present compared to last year’s 41.