TOURIST arrivals in Victoria Falls declined in November with operators blaming the trend on few visitors from the United States and other Western countries.
Association of the Tourism and Safari Operators president, Clement Mukwasi told Southern Eye Business that tourist arrivals in the resort town went down by 8% compared to last month.
He said traditionally Americans did not travel much during November because of Thanksgiving and other holidays.
“As has been the norm, the month of November has seen a decline in the tourist arrivals,” Mukwasi said.
“It is Thanksgiving month for some of our regular tourists, as a result they spend their money towards charity than towards leisure.
“Therefore, according to our statistics this month always records the lowest number of tourist arrivals. The onset of the rainy season affects tourist arrivals as some popular activities become impossible to stage.
“Rain is another factor that has contributed to this decline. Some activities such as elephant rides, game drives and game walks can hardly be done when the ground is wet,” Mukwasi said.
Steven Jonas, the Lion Encounter Victoria Falls managing director, said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was partly to blame for the decline as some tourists had been misled to believe Zimbabwe had cases of the disease.
“Some tourists do not take time to check maps in order to see where Southern Africa is as compared to West Africa,” he said.
“We are worlds apart. Southern Africa and Victoria Falls in particular are safe from the outbreak.”
Some organisations have cancelled conferences scheduled for Victoria Falls citing the Ebola outbreak.
Ebola has killed over 5 000 people in some West African countries since the outbreak began early this year, but no single case has been recorded in Southern Africa.
However, Zimbabwe remains on high alert for any outbreak of the disease and has tightened screening of visitors from the affected countries at points of entry.