Hotels fully booked for Christmas. This dovetails with the domestic tourism drive being pursued by Government in the face of the Covid-19 global pandemic which has restricted travel from traditional international source markets. Locals have always munched on the margins of the tourism cake, but that is all set to change as people shake off the boredom of staying indoors during the lockdown.
Almost all hotels and lodges in resort towns such as Kariba, Masvingo, the Eastern Highlands and Victoria Falls are fully booked for the festive season as the travel bug continues to spreads among locals.
To underscore the importance of the domestic market, Government through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has launched the ZimBho Campaign promoting domestic tourism as a springboard for recovery of the sector.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe immediate past president Mr Innocent Manyera said the domestic market was showing positive signs of embracing the local tourism products. “Indications are that for Mashonaland West and the country resorts like Kariba, Victoria Falls and the Eastern Highlands will be fully booked on the 24 to the 26th December,” said Mr Manyera.
“The same goes for December 31 to the 2nd of January. The domestic component will be championing activity since the outbreak of Covid-19 that brought with it low activity on the international market.”
He attributed the swell in domestic tourists to the relative stability brought by the foreign currency auction system which has buoyed the local currency before hailing ZTA and the media for promoting domestic tourism.
The same rate of occupancy is not expected for city hotels over the festive season as people prefer resorts areas and their rural homes. However, day excursions to areas such as Chinhoyi Caves, Biri Dam, Mazvikadei, Kore Kore Village in Mashonaland West province owing to their relatively low budget.
Urban hotels are expected to attract pop in clients for lunch after some activities. Mr Manyera said 2020 was a difficult year for the travel and tourism industry but has given operators an opportunity to look inward for solutions and reposition our tourism products.
Caribbea Bay Resort will be fully booked from December 24 with locals making up most of the bookings. A tourist Ms Nhorerwa who came to Kariba on Sunday said she decided to go on holiday to freshen up after a long lockdown period.
“We are being encouraged to visit our local destinations and as a group we made our bookings earlier this year and that makes it easier to manage,” she said. “So far so good. We went for a boat cruise on Monday and we really enjoyed ourselves including the children.”
Operators offering activities such as boat cruises have registered increased business but highlighted that most of the people are after bargain packages.
Source – The Herald
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