Victoria Falls is back on the global tourism map…and growing!
Zimbabwe tourism is “turning a very positive corner” and this growing optimism is encouraging the highly pedigreed Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) group to continue investing in new and upgraded product.
AAT chief executive, Ross Kennedy, revealed that in addition to the group’s US$3m investment in 2012 further upgrades are budgeted for this year, including the stylish refurbishment of all 72 rooms at the award-winning Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.
“There is no question that Victoria Falls has renewed and regained status as a major African tourism hub,” he said. “All the signs are that Zimbabwe tourism is turning a corner and this is reflected in many varied ways.
“Our own AAT group occupancies, across four properties, grew in 2012 and 2013 forecasts and our forward books show continued growth. We are very optimistic about the Zimbabwe tourism industry at large.”
Mr Kennedy cited such positive developments as the arrival in 2012 of both Emirates (Dubai) and KLM (Amsterdam) back into Harare; the current upgrading of the Victoria Falls International Airport and runway and the general improvement of product and property in Victoria Falls.
“Some of this is on the back of the massive boost that will flow with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly in Victoria Falls and Livingstone in August – a supreme vote of global confidence in our extraordinary and world-class destination.”
The AAT chief predicts that the Victoria Falls Airport will, in the near future, see the arrival of international airlines on a direct basis and will make a significant impact on the tourism industry.
“Other parties are also sensing the moment and are investing in infrastructure, not only at Victoria Falls but elsewhere in Zimbabwe and this boosts confidence all round.”
Apart from re-styling all rooms at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Africa Albida Tourism will improve the resort’s successful Boma restaurant with a new cookhouse and will also upgrade the outdoor areas of all eight luxury suites at the five star Ngoma Safari Lodge in Chobe, Botswana.
“We’re on a growth path,” states Mr Kennedy, “and we have a number of other exciting projects in the pipeline that will unfold this year. We intend to cement our position as one of the foremost tourism operators in Zimbabwe and the key factors will be to continue to drive standards, quality, training and investment in people.
“If you have the right skills and attitude in place the success of your business and service delivery follow. We also maximise our sales and marketing spend and get out on the road to source new markets, but always ensuring we drive service and product quality to the highest level.”
Testimony to this was the successful opening, in August 2012, of the 20-room exclusive Victoria Falls Safari Club, already ranked as one of the premium properties in the Victoria Falls region, as a glance at Trip Advisor will reveal. Also in 2012 the 18-year-old group flagship, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, was ranked 10th in the Top 100 Safari Lodges in Africa in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.
Mr Kennedy pays handsome tribute to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism, Walter Mzembi, for his positive engagement with the industry. “We are fortunate to have a minister who is full of positive energy and who is playing a forceful and critical role in shining a great light on the Zimbabwe Tourism brand Brand.”
Pictures: Product Signature Pictures
Notes to the editor
Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) is a hospitality group offering the cream of Southern African tourism products, with the award-winning Victoria Falls Safari Lodge as its flagship property. It operates three divisions, namely Hospitality, Restaurants and Parks.
The Hospitality division, under which properties owned and/or managed by the group fall, includes the AZTA award winner for the 17th consecutive year, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and the RCI Gold Crown Resort Lokuthula Lodges. A recent addition in the region to Africa Albida Tourism operates Ngoma Safari Lodge located in the Chobe Forest Reserve in northern Botswana, bordering the Chobe National Park. The property is committed to making a sustainable difference to the local communities and their environment. The Lodge, which is a joint community and privately funded project in association with the Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust (CECT), opened to the public in May 2011.
The newest addition to the group’s quality portfolio is The Victoria Falls Safari Club, an exclusive 20-room block located adjacent to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge opened its doors on 15 August 2012.
Founded on the runaway success formula of the fabulous Boma – Place of Eating at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge resort, this division also includes the deluxe MaKuwa-Kuwa Restaurant. The Boma – Place of Eating received the “Award of Excellence” from 2006 to 2011 whilst MaKuwa-Kuwa received the “Most Imaginative Menu” award in the same years and the “Best Deluxe Restaurant” award for 4 consecutive years.
This division’s pioneering project is Santonga, at Victoria Falls. A mind-blowing fusion of an interactive multi-faceted wildlife park, history, education and entertainment all in one, Santonga aims to bring to life the history of Victoria Falls since the beginning of time.
For further information and visual please contact Lisa Rickards
AAT PUBLIC RELATIONS
T: +263 4 885 200 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Member, Co-Chair Conference & Media Trip Committee, Past President
Freelance Lifestyle Journalist
Follow me: @maralynhill