Zimbabwe has not implemented its mandatory 10-day quarantine for all travellers entering the country, but the fact that the Statutory Instrument has not been officially amended to reflect that, remains a barrier to tourism growth.
“We have been advised by a number of our US-based tour operators that they need to follow official website and travel advisory information, so as long as information persists regarding compulsory quarantine on arrival, group tour operators will continue to release bookings as far ahead as March 2022, to avoid airline and accommodation cancellation penalties,” Suzanne Benadie, Sales Director South Africa, Sense of Africa, told Tourism Update.
Therefore, customers who wish to opt out of their bookings due to the uncertainty around quarantine requirements may do so. Currently, the US Embassy in Zimbabwe advisory still highlights quarantine as a requirement.
Shelley Cox from the ‘We Are Victoria Falls’ collective – an independent, public-private partnership initiative representing the tourism community of Victoria Falls – told Tourism Update that they were working with the Zimbabwean Ministry of Tourism to ensure there was official documentation showing that the quarantine was not mandatory.
According to Cox, the actual entry protocols that have been followed over the last few weeks have been as follows:
- All passengers are required to complete a COVID-19 contact-tracing document on arrival.
- All passengers arriving at Victoria Falls International Airport must present a negative PCR COVID-19 Clearance Certificate obtained within 48 hours before departure, in line with WHO guidelines. If officials believe a traveller is symptomatic, they may be required to undergo a further PCR test on arrival, regardless of the negative certificate, and at their own cost.
- All travellers arriving through the Kazungula, Botswana, Livingstone or Victoria Falls border are required to present a vaccination certificate as well as a negative PCR certificate issued within 48 hours of departure for Zimbabwe. Children between five and 18 years of age only need to hold a negative PCR certificate.
- A Port Health or Airport official will take passengers’ temperatures. Anyone recording a temperature equal to or higher than 38°C will be required to have a PCR COVID-19 test at their own cost.
- Travellers who test positive must then go into a local designated isolation centre for 10 days if they have no symptoms, or 13 days if they are symptomatic. Isolation is at the traveller’s expense.
- After isolation, travellers will need to be retested before they are provided with release documents and permitted to travel home or on to their next destination.
- Travellers must adhere to World Health Organization COVID-19 standard practices at all times. This is includes maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask in public and practising personal hygiene.