Zambia and Zimbabwe battle for tourists


Victoria Falls is the breathtaking separator between the two countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. The falls are part of two national parks – Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. And here, the battle for tourists rages on.

Livingstone Tourism Association (LTA) chairperson Kingsley Lilamono said stakeholders in the tourism sector needed to work hard, as Zimbabwe posed a serious challenge to Zambia in 2011. There are increased numbers of tourists who are preferring to stay in Zimbabwe than Zambia, said the tourism chief.

“The number of tourist arrivals are not satisfactory. The tourist arrivals at the Livingstone International Airport do not correspond with the numbers in the hotels and lodges because most of the tourists proceed to Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe. We need to sit down and re-align our strategies because we face stiff competition with Zimbabwe,” Lilamono said.

He said that there was need for massive marketing strategies and reduction in costs of accommodation as tourists now prefer to spend their nights in Zimbabwe.

ZTB Livingstone tourism services manager Jocelyn Mutinta said the global economic crunch had adversely affected the tourism sector as foreign tourists had either cancelled or rescheduled their trips, hence the need for local road shows.

“Government has been very positive to the tourism development and with increased funding to the sector, we shall conduct more marketing of our tourism attractions to increase tourist arrivals. We shall however, not neglect the local tourism market. We shall conduct more road shows, especially in Lusaka and the Copperbelt, to boost local tourism,” she said.

Mutinta noted that the low tourist arrivals recorded in 2010 were due to the first-ever World Cup in Africa.

“The hosting of the 2010 World Cup affected the tourist arrivals for 2010; however, the success and incident-free World Cup boosted the region’s tourism market as foreign tourists now feel more free to travel to the region than ever. The media coverage of the World Cup and the sideline activities linked to the FIFA event opened up the region and more foreigners now know that we are not primitive,” Mutinta said.

She further said 2010 recorded an improved performance in the tourism sector after the global economic crunch. “With the world recovering from the credit crunch, we saw a sudden improvement in the tourism sector and this is likely to be even better this year,” she said.