Vic Falls painfully returns to pre-pandemic levels

Maiden flight from Frankfurt

BY TANYARADZWA NHARI
TRUST in Victoria Falls has risen over the past year, supported by improving global sentiment and rigorous efforts to tackle the scourge of COVID-19, according to a new survey.

The tourism promotion group, We are Victoria Falls, carried out the investigation.

The survey, which indicates that 74% of booking agents globally expected an increase in inbound traffic, provided insight into data for the industry, the hardest hit since the explosion of COVID-19-induced lockdowns in 2020 .

He said the 74% was ahead of positive global sentiment of 50% in 2020 but still below 85% in 2019, before COVID-19 upended the industry, crippling businesses.

Future Traveler Sentiment Survey arrivals fell 90% in 2020 as infections anchor global source markets.

Last month, the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe said Victoria Falls could turn into a ghost town unless travel restrictions are reviewed.

Restrictions have been eased and We are Victoria Falls is seeing tourists return to one of southern Africa’s biggest destinations.

“Confidence in the Victoria Falls booking destination rose to 74% in 2021, according to the 2021 Annual Future Traveler Sentiment Survey,” the survey said.

“This figure compares to 85% in the pre-pandemic year of 2019 and a drop of just 50% in 2020.

“Seventy-three per cent of survey respondents believe it is now safe to travel to Victoria Falls and that strict entry rules, price awareness, flexible terms and conditions and ease of access , including direct flights, are priority areas to accelerate the recovery. of tourism to the destination.

“According to international agents responding to the survey, future travelers to Victoria Falls will be nature driven and will travel in small groups.

“Travellers will primarily be older couples, multi-generational families and families with older children. Compared to the previous survey, agents predict a growing preference for boutique hotels over safari camps and a move away from branded properties.

“The most notable developments over the previous year are an expected increase in demand for wellness and fine dining experiences,” the report adds.

“One hundred percent of agents surveyed said connecting with nature would be the most requested; 80% predict a wilderness setting will be in demand, and 60% predict urban areas will be as well, up from 45% in 2020.

“The newly formed Air Access Development Committee has facilitated four new routes or frequencies to Victoria Falls over the past few months, including Lufthansa’s Eurowings Discover with its inaugural flight from Frankfurt landing on March 30, 2022,” adds The report.

Last month, Zimbabwe’s fastest growing airline, fastjet, said it was determined to play an important role in putting the pieces of the broken industry back together, with launches on key routes to destinations regions with “high traffic”.

fastjet, which is adding new routes to South Africa this month before expanding to Maun, one of the backbones of tourism in Botswana, has been boosted by the easing of restrictions induced by COVID- 19 in the main destinations of Sadc.

He hopes that the new transition to connecting Sadc’s leisure capitals will take operators under fire from bankruptcy.

“We are delighted to launch the new flights from Victoria Falls to Nelspruit, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in South Africa and from Victoria Falls to Maun Airport in Bostwana,” fastjet spokesman Nunurai Ndawana told our sister newspaper. standard company.

“From March 16 we will launch flights from Victoria Falls to Mpumalanga, South Africa and on June 30 it will be Victoria Falls to Maun in Botswana.

“These are tourist flights which are very exciting for the recovery of tourism in Zimbabwe and the region,” Ndawana said.

“These routes are essential to the development of tourism in the region and are high traffic areas that are exciting to connect in terms of tourism in the region.”

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