THE tourism industry in Victoria Falls has defended its pricing model, saying the country’s prime resort destination deserves a higher value for what it offers as it is not a mere “village town”. Concerns have been raised at various fora about “expensive rates” charged by hotels and tourism operators in Victoria Falls compared to neighbouring resorts such as Livingstone in Zambia and Kasane in Botswana among other destinations. Vice President Kembo Mohadi and Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira, recently acknowledged that the destination was viewed as expensive and appealed to operators to review their rates.
Exorbitant accommodation, transport, meals and other services rates charged by players in the sector have seen some tourists preferring to fly to Botswana or Zambia from where they would drive by road to Victoria Falls for activities and return to the neighbouring countries for accommodation and meals.
Some have even complained about airport handling fees and other charges at ports of entry. Tourism critics have said the costs involved were frustrating Government efforts to market the country as a destination of choice.
However, speaking at an all stakeholders press conference organised by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in preparation for the International Military Sports Council (CISM) 2020 World Military Golf Championships scheduled for June 13 to 21, 2020 at Elephant Hills Golf Course, representatives of the tourism sector defended their pricing model.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) chairman for Victoria Falls chapter Mr Farai Chimba said the sector offers various discounts.
“There is value attached to the pricing model in Victoria Falls as you have heard that we are not just a village town. There are certain processes for discounts like length of stay and number of people involved in each group,” said Mr Chimba.
The CISM 2020 Golf Championship will see more than 300 participants from around the world flocking to Victoria Falls for almost two weeks. Mr Chimba said the sector will engage with the view of offering discounts and special packages.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority regional manager for Matabeleland North Ms Tsikadzashe Mberi said the cost of production in the sector in Victoria Falls was different from those in competing destinations across the borders.
“It’s true that the destination has been said to be expensive but the cost of production in Victoria Falls is different from other countries. Maybe that’s the reason why prices are said to be high. We really wish to be affordable and that’s why the industry always comes with concessionary rates,” she said.
Earlier, the Zimbabwe Chief delegate to CISM, Air Commodore Simon Nyowani had said Victoria Falls is not an ordinary destination as he appealed to tourism players to partner Government in preparing for the annual tournament.–herald.co.zw