By Ishemunyoro Chingwere
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), has extended cut off time to view the Victoria Falls from 7pm to 10pm and also introduced a coterie of activities as it moves to capitalise on the anticipated boom in tourism receipts.
The Victoria Falls also known as the Mosi-oa-Tunya is classified as one of the world’s seven natural wonders according the World Heritage Centre.
Victoria Falls is the country’s major tourist attraction accounting for the largest chunk for both the tourist receipts and arrivals.
The new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa has also targeted tourism as one of the major drivers upon which the country should build its economic revival after years of regression in the previous dispensation.
In response, Zimparks has come up with measures aimed at not only growing the arrivals, but also the elusive receipts that have been a worry for Government for some time.
“There are tourism products that we are now adding in Victoria Falls in an effort to generate more revenue,” Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo told The Herald.
“We have already introduced bush dinners at the Livingstone statue, we are also increasing the time for night viewing at the majestic Victoria Falls. People can now view the falls up to 10pm from 7pm which was in place previously.
“We are also introducing night driving in Zambezi National Park which is in Victoria Falls. We have also introduced a picnic site on the Zambezi River.
“We are looking at introducing a massage spar for beauty therapy and are in the process of acquiring beauty therapy equipment and also hiring cosmetologists so that we can increase value for money around the Victoria Falls so that our tourist can have more activities to partake in.
Tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe and in Victoria Falls in particular have been on the rise since November last year thanks to President Mnangagwa’s rise to power that has brought with it good will and investment opportunities.
Hospitality group Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) chief executive Ross Kennedy, said observations from the top 10 hotels in Victoria Falls show a 13 percent jump increase in hotel occupancy in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year.
The destination has also benefited from the refurbished Victoria Falls International Airport, which was renovated to the tune of $150 million.
The development has seen airlines that fly into the resort town among them Air Zimbabwe, British Airways, South African Airways, Kenyan Airways and SA Airlink and Air Namibia either increasing their frequency or resorting to much bigger planes than the ones they used before renovations.