The Livingstone Tourism Association says international tourist arrivals have slumped in Zambia because of the threatened state of emergency declared by President Edgar Lungu.
Meanwhile the neighbouring Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls Town is boasting of an increase with advance bookings well into 2019.
LTA chairperson Alexander Mutali revealed that despite it being a peak period, tourists have been cancelling their bookings into Zambia owing to the threatened State of Emergency.
Mutali also blamed the low international arrivals on the shortage of the univisa stickers at Kenneth Kaunda, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula international airports, Kazungula and Victoria Falls border posts.
According to African Travel News (ATQ), international tourism arrivals in Victoria Falls Town in Zimbabwe were equivalent to those recorded in 1999.
“Africa Albida Tourism chief executive Ross Kennedy said room occupancies in Victoria Falls for the six months ended June 30, 2017 had seen an increase of 25.4 per cent over the same period in 2016. This, he said, equates to close to 19,000 additional rooms sold over that period by 10 hotels, which together have 1,125 rooms and measure arrivals monthly,”ATQ stated.
It quoted Kennedy saying the feedback in Victoria Falls showed that this same trend was also evident across the rest of the sector, which represents a further 700 rooms.
“People are booking much further in advance than they were two years ago. We have bookings well into 2019, including big international incentive travel groups, a market that has been largely absent since 1999,” ATQ stated.
It further added that Kennedy predicts that a number of hotels in Victoria Falls would record occupancies of 90 per cent and higher between August and November.
“This has not been seen since the peak tourist arrival years of 1994 to 1999…the positive downstream impact on national and regional tourism, plus the economy is significant. The increased tourism levy revenue stream will enable the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to further enhance their marketing and branding of our world class destinations Kennedy said,”