Zimbabwe and Zambia should jointly market Victoria Falls instead of competing as this would bring more tourists to the world wonder.
Branding and reputation expert Thebe Ikalafeng told Standardbusiness in Bulawayo last week that it was beneficial to the two countries to complement each other.
BY NDAMU SANDU
“They need to understand that the two countries offer something different,” he said.
“The fact that Victoria Falls sits in the middle of both countries and the fact that at different seasons, one country has got different flow of water should not be a basis to compete.
“The basis to compete should be ‘come to Zimbabwe and experience Victoria Falls from this end and see what you do differently.’
“Then go to Zambia and in addition to Victoria Falls, you can do this part.
“But the activities that are linked to Victoria Falls from the Zambian side should be different from the activities that are linked from the Zimbabwean side.
“This is how you find the difference. Don’t make the difference based on the water flow.”
The falls are jointly owned by Zimbabwe and Zambia and the two countries have been intensifying efforts to lure more tourists.
South Africa has also entered the fray, telling tourists to visit South Africa first to view the Victoria Falls, causing consternation in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Ikalafeng said Zimbabwe and Zambia should be delighted because “it means South Africa is moving the tourists from South Africa to Zimbabwe or Zambia”.
“So, to me, that is positive because it speaks to the idea that Africa needs to work together,” he said.
“We need to understand the different properties, concepts that every country has and how we can move tourism around the continent.”
Victoria Falls is Zimbabwe’s prime tourist resort.
The government wants to derive more benefits and wants to build a “Disneyland in Africa” in the resort at a cost of over $400 million.
Victoria Falls International Airport was upgraded at a cost of $150 million to accommodate wide-bodied aircrafts in the mould of B747, B777 and Airbus, A340 or equivalent.
This upgrade has lured other airlines.
In March, South African Airway became the first airline to fly a wide-bodied aircraft into Victoria Falls after deploying an A330-200 to the resort town.
In March, Ethiopian Airlines introduced four weekly flights to Victoria Falls.
In May Kenyan Airways introduced three weekly flights to the resort town and Airlink began a six day service per week to Victoria Falls from Cape Town in July.