Tour operators are expecting another good year for Victoria Falls arrivals, following a bumper 2018.
Tourist arrivals to the Zimbabwe attraction are expected to increase by 20% in 2019 compared with 2018, according to Clement Mukwasi, President of the Employers’ Association of Tourism Operators.
“We seem to be okay and our peak season has started. We are targeting a 20% growth this year. So far, we are on course.”
Mukwasi said the tourism industry in Victoria Falls was booming, with most hotels almost fully booked. He encouraged people to make their bookings early as possible to secure accommodation for the festive season.
Hayley Walls, Director of Sales and Marketing at Matetsi Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe says: “Our bookings have increased significantly in comparison to the same time last year, which we are extremely happy about and we hope this trend continues into the future.
“We do believe Zimbabwe is a year-round destination that offers merits and benefits throughout the year. Particularly Matetsi Victoria Falls, which offers the combination experience,” says Walls.
Guests spending four nights or more at Matetsi Victoria Falls can enjoy a ‘Flight of Angels’ scenic helicopter light over the Victoria Falls. After touch-down in Victoria Falls town, guests may then enjoy the Matetsi Victoria Falls two-night offer: a guided walking Tour of the Falls and a complimentary High Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel, before retreating back to the Matetsi Victoria Falls in the late afternoon for an evening activity of sundowners on the Zambezi River.
Gemma Heyns, Public Relations Specialist at African Bush Camps says: “We have seen an increase in year-round arrivals to Victoria Falls due to improved flight connections, especially from Nairobi. Travellers are staying longer too, wanting to enjoy all that the area has to offer before travelling on to their other safari experiences. Victoria Falls remains a key hub for travel into Zimbabwe and a big tourist draw for the country,” she adds.
Gavin Rennie, Off 2 Africa DMC Director, shares alternative sentiments, noting that for several large players, tourist arrivals for 2019 are flat.
“We had a very good year, comparable with 2017 but it is not a record year of 20% over 2018,” he acknowledges.
Zimbabwe saw a record year in 2018, with arrivals the best in 18 years, says Rennie. An increase for 2020 is being felt with Zimbabwe's continued popularity, he adds.
Nik Lloyd-Roberts, Commercial Manager at Federal Airlines says: “There are honestly no set times to visit, as everyone seems to go to various areas, for different reasons. Travelling into Zimbabwe is all year round.
“We fly twice a week to one of the lodges on our shuttle flights, while on charters we fly all year round at the request of our guests,” says Lloyd-Roberts. “On charters there really are no obstacles. The people of Zimbabwe are friendly and so open to receiving guests from all over the world.”