DOMESTIC tourists dominated hotel bookings for the 2021 festive season after COVID-19 induced international travel restrictions led to cancellations of several international bookings.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Spokesperson, Godfrey Koti says most of the country’s resorts are dominated by domestic bookings for the festive season, with the COVID-19 having led to either cancellations or postponement of bookings by international tourists.
“We are elated by the response we have gotten from the local market, it is second to none. Places are fully booked now, if you look at region by region; the Eastern Highlands is fully packed, the Mashonaland West area is fully packed, that is your Kariba.
“Victoria Falls right now is still coming up, we are hoping that we should be able to see quite a huge number of domestic travellers, travelling there and going to doing holidays there.
“The situation is however quite bad with the international travel in particular, when the UK and other countries announce their restrictions of African countries and Southern African countries in particular.
“We really saw quite a number of cancellations coming through from the international markets, so we lost quiet a considerable amount of tourism which we are yet to quantify, it quite bad,” Koti said.
The need to escalate COVID-19 vaccination countrywide cannot be over emphasised.
“To be honest this a very tough time for tourism, we are definitely in conundrum we have to find ourselves working very closely with the private sector and the public sectors to increase the vaccination and the safety of the country.
“We have been the leading light in Africa, which is why we are really hard done we heard that the UK had shut also because we have been the leading in terms of the vaccine roll out.”
Victoria Falls occupancy levels for the 2021 festive season have surged compared to last year.
“As Victoria Falls we still have a much better occupancy for this festive season compared to the 2020 season but it’s not as we had expected,” Hotel Association of Zimbabwe Matabeleland North Chairperson Anald Muzonza said.
Tourism players normally enjoy brisk business during the Christmas and New Year holidays.