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Air Zim charges $500 for Harare Victoria Falls flight

24/06/2014 00:00:00
by Business Reporter
 
Air Zimbabwe undermining tourism ... Walter Mzembi
 
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THE country’s struggling flag carrier, AIR Zimbabwe, is undermining the growth of the tourism industry and its own revival through exorbitant fares, tourism minister Walter Mzembi has said.

“The Harare -Victoria Falls route at $500 for a return trip is arguably one of the most expensive 45 minutes of travel in the world,” said the minister.

“You cannot stimulate demand if you charge anybody $500 to just displace them from Harare to Victoria Falls when they are displaced from London to Paris for just under 500 pounds.”

Mzembi was addressing reporters at the 9th edition of the Routes Africa Forum 2014 in the resort town of Victoria Falls on Monday.

“When visitors and travellers make a choice on where to travel they are put off by some of our very exorbitant travel costs and we hope that in future interactions between travel and transport services we interrogate our costs model which is offending the travelling public to this extent,” he said.

If Air Zimbabwe charged competitive fares, more people would fly daily to see Victoria Falls.

“We could be having droves of passenger traffic on a daily basis coming to see Victoria Falls and going back if we have an amenable pricing structure,” said the minister.

“It would definitely steer demand but $500 between Harare and Victoria Falls certainly will not stimulate demand; I hope we can look intimately an these cost structures and see how best we can stimulate air travel.

“We need to bring back school tourism and civil service travel incentives where civil servants are afforded one holiday a year to distress. The demand has to be stimulated somehow and be driven by tourism.”

The government would also challenge the proposed $10 per passenger tax aimed at raising a budget for the African Union.

“If you have run out of creativity do you tax customers? We are lobbying AU to have that tax scrapped because it’s tantamount to introducing travel sanctions in the market through taxing. You don’t open up by having taxation,” Mzembi added.



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