Published on : Thursday, March 30, 2017
Tourists from around the world are awed by Mosi-oa-Tunya – ‘the smoke that thunders’ – as the Zambezi River tumbles down into the Batoka Gorge in a 1.7 kilometer-wide curtain of water. No doubt, it is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. But in spite of all these, arrivals to the falls have been affected, which can be attributed to disastrous economic and political issues in Zimbabwe. But now the situation is changing though and political stability in Zimbabwe has eased safety fears. The 2009 “dollarization” of the country “put an end to hyperinflation and stabilized the economy.
In the early 2000s, before the tourism and economic crash in Zimbabwe, there was a ‘Go To Vic Falls’ promotional entity. But that wrapped up many years ago. These days, it’s mostly private companies and brands that promote visitation. However, business since then, has improved gradually, especially in the Victoria Falls region. According to Joss Kent, chief executive officer of safari operator &Beyond, “While the economic outlook on the country is still difficult, and it of course does still have its issues, the country is far more stable than it was before. The world is seeing it as a safer place to travel to again, and it does boast some of the continent’s iconic destinations.”
Another factor which contributed towards increasing visitor arrival numbers is the reintroduction of the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) uni-visa in December 2016. The visa allows citizens of 40 countries – including the key U.S. and European markets – to transit easily between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and stay for up to 30 days in both countries. Many new airline services have also commenced their operations in the Victoria Falls area.