The Sunday News
Rutendo Nyeve, Harare Bureau
THE “We are Victoria Falls” independent public-private crises communications and recovery campaign started Phase two which seeks to show the state of preparedness to welcome international visitors back to Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe.
“We are Victoria Falls” is an independent recovery initiative mandated by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality and supported by International Finance Corporation to represent the tourism community of Victoria Falls during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The mandate is being carried out through communicating reliable, up to date information on the destination’ s management of Covid-19, collecting and disseminating information, external trade sentiment to aid preparedness and response as well as reinforcing the brand position of the destination.
The second phase is set to reinforce four facets that include Health, Preparedness, Reopening as well as Clean and Green. Zimbabwe, as a tourist destination has one of the lowest Covid-19 infection rates in Southern Africa while the rate of new infections has consistently gone down in the past month. Matabeleland North Province which houses the majestic Victoria Falls has had the lowest number of recorded Covid-19 cases in Zimbabwe.
Leader of the “We are Victoria Falls Campaign” Ms Shelly Cox said the second phase of the campaign seeks to show the state of preparedness of the resort town and tourism industry in Zimbabwe.
“The second phase of the ‘We Are Victoria Falls’ initiative will focus on communicating the readiness of the tourism sector to welcome travellers back to Victoria Falls by showcasing the protocols that have been put in place to ensure the health and safety of both guests and staff, alongside profiling the incredible experiences on offer. We hope to build confidence in regional and international visitors to once again return to the tourism hub of Zimbabwe and the KAZA (Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area) Transfrontier Conservation Area,” she said.
Ms Cox said in addition under the Zimbabwe Destination Development Programme, the organisation was working with a variety of partners to look at different opportunities to provide support for the sector and particularly for smaller tourism businesses.
The second phase of the campaign which began this month and will run to the first quarter of 2021 comes at a time when the tourism industry has seen both domestic, regional and international flights resuming operations with 40 percent of tourism-related business having reopened following the relaxation of lockdown measures.
An additional 23 percent of businesses are expected to reopen by end of 2020 while full resumption of services and activities is expected by the second quarter of 2021. All this is set to be disseminated under the Reopening facet of the [email protected]