Easter tourism surge…Holidaymakers flock resorts

THE country’s prime tourism city, Victoria Falls and major tourist attractions around Bulawayo have been teeming with activity as hordes of holidaymakers took time out to celebrate the Easter holiday, which ended yesterday. 

Tourism operators in Victoria Falls said the Easter Holiday was fairly busy, with more foreign visitors than local tourists. 

However, major tourist attractions around Bulawayo such as the famous Matopos National Park were largely dominated by domestic tourists. 

A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited various leisure spots in Matopos and observed groups of tourists enjoying the holiday.

At Matopos National Park families could be seen fishing at Maleme Dam while others were sightseeing at the famous World’s View where there is Cecil John Rhode’s grave, a major tourist attraction. 

It costs US$4 per head to access the monument.

Matopos National Park is situated on a granite-decorated terrain of the Matobo Hills. When Rhodes, then chairman of the colonialist British Southern African Company, set his eyes on this marvel of a hill and developed a liking for it prompting him to call it “The World’s View”.

The Matobo Hills is an area of high botanical diversity with over 200 species of trees recorded in the national park.

There are also many aloes and wild herbs and over 100 grass species. Many types of endemic plants have been recorded.

Matopos National Park contains the highest concentration of black eagles and breeding pairs of these birds, worldwide.

In interviews, visitors to the national park said they were heeding the President’s call to promote local tourism.

Mr Virgil Chemvumi who was part of a group of tourists from Harare, said they were impressed with the natural surroundings at the national park.

“We are happy we decided to tour Zimbabwe because it allowed us to appreciate the beauty of our country, Zimbabwe. We are glad we have heeded the call to support local tourism,” he said.

Another tourist from Harare Mr Tatenda Mafemera, who was visiting Matopos for the first time, could not hide his excitement as he marvelled at the rock paintings.

A day tripper, Ms Titie Maweri said: “The place is beautiful and we need to continue to market this place as Zimbabweans.”

Mrs Sinothile Dube, who was on holiday at the national park with her family, said she was impressed with how ZimParks was maintaining the place.

“The place is safe and peaceful. I did not worry about the safety of my children because there is security and it is important to give credit to both ZimParks and the Department of Museums and Monuments for protecting visitors,” she said.

Picnic & Chill coordinator, Mr Mthulisi Moyo, who is also a founding member of the Bulawayo Sneaker Expo, organised a Picnic Safari where holidaymakers from Bulawayo visited Victoria Falls during the Easter holiday where they engaged in a number of activities.

“We had a Picnic Safari experience in Victoria Falls. Picnic Safari is a development from a Bulawayo event called Picnic & Chill. The two-day event started on 29 March and people checked in to their various accommodations and then attended a music event which had Heavy K,” he said.

“On March 30, people engaged in animal interaction at the Elephant and Cheetah Experience. The group then explored other Victoria Falls activities such as the sunset boat cruise along the Zambezi River. There was an after-party event to make the end of their Picnic Safari experience.”

Mr Moyo said there is a need for the private sector to complement Government efforts in promoting domestic tourism by creating promotions and coming up with affordable packages.

Tourism executive Mr Clement Mukwasi who is national chair of the Employers Association for the Tourism Operators, said a majority of operators enjoyed significant business.

Posting on its X page, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said a huge boost to domestic tourism came through the religious tourism cluster. 

ZTA said religious tourism in the country plays a pivotal role in the growth of the tourism sector contributing immensely to the national economy. 

“Multitudes of tourists travel locally and the diaspora alike for pilgrimages across the country. As Christians travel around Zimbabwe, accommodation facilities fill up, and they spend on food, subsequently tourism receipts increase,” said ZTA.

“This Easter weekend, His Excellency, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde Dr ED Mnangagwa, and Her Excellency, the First Lady, Dr A Mnangagwa attended the Easter Convention at Zion Christian Church in Mbungo, Masvingo, and the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Barbara Rwodzi and Team Tourism was also in attendance promoting religious tourism, a critical facet of tourism.”

Chronicle

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