Footsteps Through Time

Footsteps Through Time
A History of Travel and Tourism to the Victoria Falls - www.zambezibookcompany.com

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Livingstone hotel to lay off 30 workers if...

DAVID Livingstone Hotel plans to lay off 30 workers this month if the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) does not reduce the K15 gate park fee that local tourists are required to pay at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.

ZAWA has pegged gate park fees at K15 and US$10 for local and foreign tourists, respectively, at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Livingstone.

David Livingstone Hotel director Steve McCormick said his hotel has started losing clients to Zimbabwe due to the recently introduced gate park fees by ZAWA.

Mr McCormick, who is also Safari Lodge and Spa Livingstone director, said the hotel is considering closing down because it is losing business as a result of the newly introduced gate park fees by ZAWA.

“We have lost 43 percent of our clients ever since the ZAWA gate park fee was introduced as Zimbabwe is the next alternative,” Mr McCormick said.

He was speaking to journalists shortly after a consultative meeting with the Livingstone Tourism Association (LTA) and Minister of Tourism and Arts Jean Kapata in Livingstone on Saturday.

Mr McCormick said eight companies that take tourists to his lodge and hotel have cancelled their contracts. “The companies that bring us tourists have cancelled their contracts with us and we have lost about eight contracts, which has resulted in us losing 1,000 bed spaces, and at David Livingstone Hotel, we shall lay off about 30 workers if the situation continues,” Mr McCormick said.

He said the companies are now taking the tourists to Zimbabwe instead of bringing them to Zambia.

Mr McCormick also said local people who go to drink beer at the Safari Lodge during the happy hour have stopped. “We have been in this business for over 20 years, and we have been paying ZAWA When the people go on the boat cruise, we shall collect the park fee for them,” Mr McCormick said.

He also dismissed the assertion that the loss of business is as a result of the department of immigration asking for yellow fever vaccination certificates from tourists.

Mr McCormick attributed the loss of business to the newly introduced gate park fees by ZAWA. On Friday, Vice-President Guy Scott said local people have been denied access to the river because of the gate park fees introduced by ZAWA. Dr Scott said he is aware that ZAWA needs money but this is not the right way to generate revenue.

“How can you say that tourists are not coming, when you are collecting money like this?” Dr Scott said. Ms Kapata assured Dr Scott that she would resolve the matter.

Source:
Livingstone hotel to lay off 30 workers if... (Zambian Daily Mail 24/06/14)

Sunday, 22 June 2014

African 'Disneyland' still planned for Victoria Falls

The Zimbabwe Government appears to be pushing ahead with plans to build a multi-million dollar conference facility near Victoria Falls Airport to act as a special economic zone for the country. The plans, which were announced last year, received much unfavourable coverage in the international media for the associated description as a 'Disneyland in Africa' (see previous post Victoria Falls 'Disneyland' on the cards, August 2013).

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Walter Mzembi, has recently been quoted as saying a 274 hectare piece of land next to the Victoria Falls Internation Airport has been made available by the government to develop the project. The planned venture is set to house a conference centre, hotels, entertainment and other recreational structures - which press reports again describe as being in a 'Disneyland form'.

Mzembi said government planned to modernise Victoria Falls town into a world tourism destination of choice, while making it the country's conference capital. "We have made serious advances to make Victoria Falls the gateway to our economic recovery," he said. "Our vision is to make the best of Victoria Falls town as we intend to modernise it with new hotels, new venues for conferences with the best facilities."

He said his ministry would soon call upon land developers to partner government and take advantage of the development.

Source: Govt Plans Vic Falls Conference Centre - allAfrica.com (20/06/14)



Beware: Devil's Pool viral video scam

There are currently at least two video links doing the rounds on Facebook which claim to show fatal accidents at the Devil's Pool, on the very lip of the Victoria Falls. One claims to show a man taking a selfie, and in the process, slipping over the edge of the Falls. Another shows a man with a child and claims the child is swept over the edge.
Beware - the images shown are genuine, however their claims and the videos they link to are not - this viral scam could infect your computer with malicious malware.

The video links take you to a fake site that will most likely infect your machine with malicious or dangerous software. Apparently when you click on the video, you are taken to a fake website which tries to trick you into downloading and installing this malware - and to view the video you first have to share it on Facebook, thus ensuring others fall into the trap.
Do not view any videos which require you to share the link before viewing, or download any files from these sites, as they will almost certainly be malicious files which will infect your machine.
The Devil's Pool trip is an official tourist activity operated as part of the Livingstone Island tour run by Tongabezi Safaris, and where clients are taken by boat to Livingstone Island from the Zambian side of the river. Here, water levels allowing, tourists are able to safely swim in the Devil's Pool, under the close supervision of trained guides. The trip is hugely popular, and no-one has ever been swept over the Falls on these tours - in fact no-one is known to have ever died at the Devil's Pool.
Before Tongabezi launched their Livingstone Island tours many tourists would undertake 'unofficial' (and illegal) trips along the crest-line of the Falls, which at low water are bare for much of the length and gives access to the various dive and swim pools along the lip. In 2009 a guide sadly died saving a tourist - see Zimbabwean Tour Guide plunges into the Victoria Falls gorge - however this accident did not happen at the Devil's Pool as is often claimed in online news reports. The client slipped while leaping across a small water channel on the edge of the Falls and the guide saved him, and unfortunately in the process slipped into the water and was swept over the edge.
Which is why official tours are operated to professional standards with rigerous safety procedures. Watch a great video (without downloading malware or seeing anyone die) of an official Devil's Pool tour here - and you'll realise why it is so popular! For more visit the Tongabezi website:

Source: Man slips after epic selfie capture at Devil’s pool, Victoria Falls - cyberwarzome.com
Scam Alert: Victoria Falls Selfie Video Takes You To Nowhere - gizmodo.in
Watch This Man Accidentally Slip after Epic Selfie Capture at Devil's Pool Hoax - onlinethreatsalet.com
Tour Guide plunges into the Victoria Falls gorge - africasafariblog.com








Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Paypal comes to Zimbabwe - but you can only pay and not receive money.

PayPal is entering 10 new countries this week, including Zimbabwe, providing online payment alternatives for consumers via mobile phones or PCs in markets often blighted by financial fraud and bringing the number of countries it serves to 203.
Starting on Tuesday (17/06/14), consumers in Nigeria, which has 60 million users and has Africa's largest population, along with nine other markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America will be able to make payments through PayPal.
"PayPal has been going through a period of reinvention, refreshing many of its services to make them easier to use on mobile (phones), allowing us to expand into fast-developing markets," Keeley said.
Once the services go live, customers in the 10 countries with access to the Web and a bank card authorized for Internet transactions will be able to register for a PayPal account and make payments to millions of sites worldwide.
Initially, PayPal is only offering "send money" services for consumers to pay for goods and services at PayPal-enabled merchant sites while safeguarding their financial details. This is free to consumers and covered by fees it charges merchants.
"We think we can give our sellers selling into this market a great deal of reassurance," said Keeley, a former regional banking executive with Standard Chartered Plc and senior executive with payment card company Visa Inc.
PayPal [services in these new countries] does not yet cover peer-to-peer transactions, which allow consumers to send money to other consumers. It has not yet enabled local merchants in the new markets to receive payments, nor is it offering other forms of banking services, he said.
A total of 80 million Internet users stand to gain access to PayPal global services this week, including those in five European markets - Belarus, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco and Montenegro, four in the African nations of Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Zimbabwe, as well as Paraguay. Internet usage figures are based on research by Euromonitor International.
PayPal counts 148 million active accounts worldwide.
Source: Paypal comes to Zimbabwe - Bulawayo24 (16/06/14)








Monday, 9 June 2014

ZAWA responds to new park entrance fees

Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has observed with regret the uproar raised by some stakeholders in Livingstone and reported in some quarters of the media, over the Authority’s decision to charge K15.12 AS Park entry fees to Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park.

ZAWA would like to inform members of the public that the Authority’s decision to charge the park entry fee is based on Statutory Instrument no. 60 of 2007 and is vital for the continued maintenance, improvement and development of the Park, which is one of Zambia’s largest tourism assets.

The general maintenance of the park and the ensuring of security and order comes at a much higher cost to ZAWA than what is being charged. ZAWA had sent a team to conduct a thorough survey within the region and especially among Zambia’s neighbouring countries where it has been established that Park entry fees are mandatory and are paid by every person visiting the Park, whether a local or foreign tourist.

It was also established that ZAWA is the only institution in the region that was not charging these fees and the charge that the Authority has introduced is the lowest among our neighbouring countries in the region, such as Zimbabwe and Botswana. It has been established during verification visits conducted by ZAWA staff during the month of April, 2014 to Zimbabwe and Botswana that prevailing park entry fees charged by ZAWA in Zambia were lower than that of Zimbabwe and relatively the same and in certain instances lower than Botswana. Nevertheless, ZAWA has continued to engage with stakeholders in Livingstone over the matter.

Source: ZAWA’s response to new park entrance fees - Zambia Tourism (09/06/14)

More: ZAWA justifies K15 park entry fee - Zambia Daily mail (11/06/14)

Friday, 6 June 2014

Vic Falls to tax tourists, raise budget

Victoria Falls municipality will announce a supplementary budget on this month and levy charges on tourists to the resort town to raise funds to repay a government loan, an official has said.
Council owes the government about $4 million for refurbishing infrastructure when it hosted the World Tourism Organisation’s 20th general assembly last year. It also owes the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Zimbabwe National Water Authority funds and other utilities over $6 million. The council had originally approved a $9 million budget for 2014.
“The supplementary budget is going to see some major increases in rates and service for the industry,” town clerk Christopher Dube said.
“We owe the government $4 million which we got as a loan to rehabilitate infrastructure. We are failing to repay that loan.”
Dube said the municipality would go ahead and introduce a tourism tax — a dollar for every foreign visitor to the resort town — despite opposition from tour operators. “We are going ahead with the project. We need to raise revenue from somewhere,” he said.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Zambia National Park fees change in Livingstone

Changes to the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park fees structure have been effective as of 15 May; as announced by the Zambia Wildlife Authority recently.

Due to the recent movement of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park entrance gate and the fencing in of The David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa [and also The Waterfront and Rivershack Bar] within the greater National Park, a mandatory daily Mosi-Oa-Tunya (MOT) Park entrance fee is now applicable to all guests residing or visiting the Lodge. Fees applicable are USD 10.00 per person per day for adults and USD5.00 per child under 11 years old per day.

Commenting on the changes, David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa Operations Manager, Keith Rissik said “hotels and lodges in the region have been mandated and are responsible to collect the fees on their behalf and then pay over to ZAWA. Thus all guests residing or visiting David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa are subject to MOT park fee”.

All guests and visitors who enter the park through the gate opposite the Chrismar Hotel on Sichango Road will have to register on entry prior to proceeding to the lodge.

“No additional park fees will be levied to what guests are experiencing at the moment. The river fee currently paid for the sunset cruise or any other daily activities will now be covered by the new MOT park fee. However there is the exception that there is the USD20.00 Victoria Falls National Heritage fee, which will remain,” said Rissik.

All guests residing at David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa are subject to the following:
ZAWA (bed) Levy USD10.00 per person on day of arrival
MOT Park entrance fee USD10.00 per person per day (International), USD5.00 per person per day (SADC resident)
Children 11 years & under USD5.00 per day (International), USD2.50 per day (SADC resident)

Source: Zambia National Park fees change - Tourism Tattler (27/05/14)

Zambezi water project, 100yrs still on paper

The Matabeleland Zambezi River Water Project that has been on the cards for 100 years is yet to get off the ground due to the unavailability of funding.

When complete, the water project will bring to an end Bulawayo's water challenges while creating a green irrigation belt in the region.

The project's Advisory Council Chairman, Mr Donald Khumalo expressed worry at the failure to do meaningful work but said they are in talks with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate to ensure work is done on the sites.

He also said it is pleasing to the council that the project has been given priority status in the country's economic blueprint, ZIMASSET, saying it will ensure resources are channeled towards it.

The Senior Minister of State in the President's Office, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said the government has given the project top priority as espoused in the economic blueprint.

The project is expected to be done in three phases, starting with the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani dam, construction of a pipeline from Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo and some areas in Matabeleland South and North provinces, and the construction of a pipeline from Zambezi river to Gwayi-Shangani dam.

Source: Zambezi water project, 100yrs still on paper - Bulawayo24 (04-06-14)

Victoria Falls Council to Tax Individual Tourists

FOREIGN tourists, who must shell out $30 to get to see the Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side, will now have to give the local authority a dollar each to help the council pay off government debt.

In news likely to worry the local tourism industry, the town council has confirmed it would introduce a levy to be charged on individual tourists to help pay off debts.

According to online news Agency The Source, the local authority owes the government about $4 million for refurbishing infrastructure ahead of the World Tourism Organisation's 20th General Assembly held in the town last year.

In addition, the council also owes the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) its pension fund and other utilities over $6 million.

Town clerk Christopher Dube told The Source council would introduce a tourism tax -- a dollar for every foreign visitor to the resort town -- despite opposition from tour operators.

"The supplementary budget is going to see some major increases in rates and service for the industry," said Dube.

"We owe the government $4 million which we got as a loan to rehabilitate infrastructure... We are failing to repay that loan.

Operators last week said they were not going to support the tolling of tourists.

“If these operators are not supporting the tolling of tourists, they will have to fork out that money from their coffers. We are going ahead with the project. We need to raise revenue from somewhere,” Dube said.

Meanwhile, Dube said council recently passed a resolution barring the hiring of external debt collectors after residents cried foul over the move. “We are now going to come up with an internal debt collecting system. But we call upon residents to bear with us and pay even the little they have to settle their bills. A lot of companies and residents continue to default on paying rates, threatening service delivery,” he said.

A government directive last year saw councils across the country scraping residents’ debts – a move that has resulted in them experiencing serious cashflow problems.

Source: Victoria Falls Council to Tax Individual Tourists - AllAfrica (3/6/14)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Zimbabwe to introduce tourism tax for every foreign visitor to Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls municipality will announce a supplementary budget on this month and levy charges on tourists to the resort town to raise funds to repay a government loan, an official has said.

Council owes the government about $4 million for refurbishing its infrastructure when it hosted the World Tourism Organisation’s 20th General Assembly last year. It also owes the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) its pension fund and other utilities over $6 million.
The council had originally approved a $9 million budget for 2014.
“The supplementary budget is going to see some major increases in rates and service for the industry,” town clerk Christopher Dube told The Source.
“We owe the government $4 million which we got as a loan to rehabilitate infrastructure… We are failing to repay that loan.”
Dube also said the municipality will go ahead and introduce a tourism tax — a dollar for every foreign visitor to the resort town — despite opposition from tour operators.
“We are going ahead with the project. We need to raise revenue from somewhere,” he said.

Vic Falls council resolve to solve refuse issue

THE Victoria Falls Town Council has imposed a $20 charge per premise to raise funds to purchase a refuse collection truck.
OWN CORRESPONDENT
Victoria Falls mayor Sifiso Mpofu confirmed the move and said the charge would be spread over five months and not a once-off payment.
The council has shrugged off protestations by disgruntled residents to drop the charge saying they were not consulted.
“I am aware of the meeting held on Friday over the issue between residents and council officials.
“The Victoria Falls Residents’ Association and the council called for a meeting to address the residents about the $20 refuse truck charge and agreed on how to break down the payment,” Mpofu said.
Victoria Falls Combined Residents’ Association chairperson Morgan Gaza said there was an agreement for residents to pay the $20 over five months.
“We have come up with a payment plan that all residents are going to pay $4 per month over a period of five months as most of the residents were not content with paying $20 in one month,” Gaza said.
Council has constantly locked horns with residents over the non-collection of refuse.
Source: Vic Falls council adamant (03/06/14)

Monday, 2 June 2014

Vice Falls Tourism levy lambasted


THE move by Victoria Falls municipality to levy tourists visiting the resort town could be disastrous to business and any move to impose the resident’s debt on business would be resisted, tour operators have said.
RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
Some tour operators felt that tourists were already paying too many levies on their visit to Victoria Falls and council should extensively consult with business and come up with a tolling fee on tour operators depending on business performance.
The town fathers are mulling the introduction of “tourist tolling” — a development that will result in council collecting money from each tourist visiting the resort town as a way of raising revenue.
Employers Association of Tourism and Safari Operators national president and Shearwater Adventures public relations manager Clement Mukwasi warned the municipality to widely consult with the business to avoid resistance.
“They should come up with a possible levy to businesses not individual tourists, taking into cognisance the viability of businesses,” Mukwasi said.
“If business is low they should suspend the levy and resume when business is high. They should also co-ordinate with Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, ZimParks, Environment Management Authority and the Ministry of Transport as we also pay levies to these entities.”
“If the council decides to impose the debt owed by residents on business, the move will have disastrous effects as it will face a lot of resistance. There will be no buy-in.”
The cash-strapped municipality is in dire straits as it owes the government, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Zimbabwe National Water Authority and other utilities in excess of $10 million.
In his 2014 National budget, Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa proposed that a 15% value added tax (VAT) be imposed on payments for accommodation and services by foreign tourist.
The VAT players in the industry have argued that it would scare away foreign tourists since it was the first of its kind in the world.
Source: Tourism levy lambasted (01/06/14)