Thirteen African tourism boards and authorities, other than SA Tourism, will be manning stands at this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba.
They include: Botswana Tourism, the Egyptian Tourism Authority, the Ethiopian Tour Operators Association, Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation, Malawi Tourism, Mozambique Tourism, Namibia Tourism Board, the Office National du Tourisme from the DRC, the Rwanda Development Board, the Swaziland Tourism Authority, the Uganda Tourism Board, the Zambia Tourism Agency and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
Uganda’s overriding message this year, will be that for those looking for uncrowded national parks, great entertainment and a diverse cultural experience, Uganda is the place to go.
According to Vincent Mugaba, PRO for the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), one of the developments to be highlighted at the country’s stand will be plans to promote the Rwenzori Mountains, the highest mountain range in Africa, and a World Heritage Site.
“However, unlike Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya, Rwenzori is less visited, bringing in fewer than 2,000 climbers a year, compared with the 45,000 or so for Kili,” he says.
Uganda has now developed the Rwenzori Mountains Marketing Strategy, officially launched by the country’s Prime Minister in March. It promotes the region and national park in collaboration with the communities and local leadership.
The tourism board will also be advising Indaba delegates that it has renewed contracts for its Market Destination Representatives, or PR and marketing representatives, in various markets. PHG Consulting will continue to promote Uganda tourism in North America, Kamageo will be active in the UK and Ireland and KPRN Network will be responsible for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The firms are now in their second year of representation.
UTB is also hiring new firms to promote Uganda tourism in the Middle East for the Arab markets, as well as in Japan and China. Contracts are expected to be signed before the end of this quarter.
Last October, the first Uganda Giants Club Conservation and Tourism Investment Forum was held. Its purpose was to reach out to prospective international partners to develop tourism products that balance the integrity of natural areas with Uganda’s vision to become a nature-based tourism leader in Africa.
Since then, at least two companies have surveyed different sites to set up exclusive luxury lodges in Uganda’s premium national parks.
The Zimbabwe delegation at Africa’s Travel Indaba, aware of the renewed interested in the destination following change of leadership in the country late last year, will be looking to resuscitate relations with old contacts and establish new ones. The group will reassure the trade that Zimbabwe has a new openness to the international market and is working to reverse all the negatives of the past – barriers to travel, travel inconveniences and hostility, among them.
Much good news is flowing in from Zimbabwe. Air links are on the increase and the recent upgrading of Victoria Falls International Airport has seen a number of airlines introducing flights to this major tourist attraction, and increasing capacity. RwandAir will introduce flights between Harare and Cape Town on May 16, the first direct service between those two cities. Low-cost airline, fastjet, has also topped up its flights.
In February 2018, Zimbabwe revised its visa regime, granting visas on arrival to nationals from 29 countries – India, Mexico, Ethiopia, Panama, Romania and Armenia among them.
“The Zimbabwe government seeks to depart from the trend in most African countries where almost two-thirds of the world’s population must obtain visas before travel,” says Nellia Nhauranwa (Manager International Media Relations) of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
Construction and upgrades of tourism infrastructure are taking place throughout the country. Mbano Manor Hotel, a five-star all-suite boutique property in Victoria Falls, is expected to open its doors in early 2019. The redevelopment of Victoria Falls Safari Club has been completed and includes the addition of a swimming pool, the enlargement of its deck, a new restaurant and kitchen and increased lounge space.
Victoria Falls will also soon have a $13 million shopping complex, with completion expected in January 2019. The mall will accommodate banks, restaurants, offices and a car park. Victoria Falls is one of the three Special Economic Zones in Zimbabwe where investors enjoy special incentives.
Elsewhere in the country, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge at Lake Kariba has been relaunched under the African Bush Camps banner while Singita is giving its Pamushana Lodge in the southeast a major facelift. Cresta Hotels recently relaunched its new-look Cresta Churchill Hotel in Bulawayo.
Source: Michelle Colman http://www.tourismupdate.co.za/article/179534/Africa-comes-out-in-force