Operators selling Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe are hopeful of a tourism recovery, following increases in occupancy levels at hotels and resorts. This includes Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate recording its highest occupancies last month since the onset of COVID-19.
More good news is that occupancies in December are at 45% so far.
Occupancy levels across Africa Albida Tourism’s (AAT) Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club and Victoria Falls Safari Suites reached 33% in October, with other hotels in Victoria Falls reporting similar occupancies.
On average, for 2021 so far, occupancies across AAT’s three properties were at 16%.
AAT Chief Executive, Ross Kennedy, explained that while November has historically been a softer month, December and the festive season were showing good signs of being the busiest month since the start of the pandemic, with new enquiries and bookings still coming in daily.
“The forward booking pattern seems positive at this time and from the second quarter of 2022 onwards there appears to be real momentum building,” Kennedy said.
“There are, however, many factors at play across all source markets and the world, so we take nothing for granted in an ever-changing extremely competitive environment.”
“We are seeing a trend of many more late bookings, with guests from local, regional and international markets, booking, paying and staying within one to three weeks,” he said.
Guests have also been staying longer in the last six months and that trend is also reflecting in bookings, with some international visitors staying or booking for five to seven nights, Kennedy added.
The increase in occupancies comes as 96% of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate staff have been fully vaccinated, as well as 86% of Victoria Falls’ adult population.
In addition, access to Victoria Falls has been boosted with airlines returning to the destination. Airlines currently flying into Victoria Falls are Fastjet, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, British Airways (operated by Comair), Airlink, Air Zimbabwe and Mack Air, as well as charter airlines.
The Lufthansa Group’s new leisure airline Eurowings Discover will start flying into Victoria Falls from March 30, 2022, increasing Frankfurt to Windhoek flights to a daily service, with a Windhoek-Victoria Falls-Windhoek tag flight three times a week.