THE tourism sector in Zimbabwe’s prime resort town of Victoria Falls has expressed fear of losing business to neighbouring Zambia following the introduction of the new 15% value-added tax (VAT) on all tourism activities in line with the 2015 national budget.
Zimbabwe Tourism Council representative and a tour operator Barbra Murasiranwa confirmed that the VAT directive had been implemented and added that it would make Victoria Falls an expensive destination by affecting tourists’ spending, resulting in most of them opting for Zambia.
“Yes, I can confirm that the prices have been increased by 15% being the VAT proposed in the budget,” she said.
“I have advised our members to provide for it. However, we are still to get official communication from the Finance ministry.
“If there are others who have increased fares besides VAT, it’s that 5% increase per year which is normally done due to inflationary factors. So I can confirm that the prices for activities have increased.”
Murasiranwa said the introduction of VAT had ripple effects on the tourism sector as clients would prefer Zambian resorts which are cheaper.
“Actually what happened is that Zambia introduced VAT some time ago and lost business to us,” she said. “Right now it’s in the process of reversing that and that would mean Victoria Falls would be an expensive destination resulting in us losing business to Zambia.”
There has been an influx of tourist arrivals in Victoria Falls following the resort town’s successful hosting of the premier United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly in August 2013.