ZimParks shelves Vic Falls entry fees increase following operators’ outcry

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By Kukurigo

VICTORIA Falls: Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) has shelved the Rainforest entry fees increase that was set to begin next month and deferred the review to April.

Tourism operators had raised objection through the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) over the lack of consultation.

They argued the short-notice increase had set players on a collision course with tourists who had received 2023 schedules and made advance payments.

ZimParks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo, confirmed the increase had been put on hold.

“As Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority we would like to confirm the postponement of the increase in Rainforest entry fees,” he said.

“We were supposed to effect the increases on the 1st of January 2023 and after consulting players in the tourism industry we have agreed to postpone until the 1st of April.”

He said after consulting and considering that the country seeks to promote domestic tourism, ZimParks saw it prudent to allow easy access to the resort by locals upon payment of US$7 per person, which remains unchanged until April.

“So, the new charges for international tourists or regional tourists are going to be effected on the 1st of April 2023,” said Farawo, adding that wildlife management and conservation was being funded by tourism directly.

‘We are Victoria Falls Initiative’ coordinator, Shelley Cox, commended ZimParks for responding positively.

She said engagements among stakeholders will minimise any negative impact of the increase in fees and allow trade partners and travellers to understand some of the reasons behind the increases.

“While we await feedback on outstanding requests, it has been agreed that the Victoria Falls Destination Management partnership will work with all stakeholders to come up with an effective communication campaign strategy announcing the increases, which will be implemented in the second quarter of 2023,” she said.

The new fees schedule proposed by ZimParks will see locals paying US$10 to enter through the ordinary gate up from US$7 per person while Sadc and international clients will pay US$30 and US$50, up from US$20 and US$30 respectively.

To enter through the VIP gate, locals will pay US$30 per person, US$75 for SADC and US$150 for international clients.

Locals who want to tour the rainforest under the moonlight will be expected to part with US$15 per person while Sadc clients will pay US$70 and US$100 for international clients.

Visiting the Zambezi River will now cost US$5 for locals while SADC clients will pay US$12 and those from the international world paying US$15. Children above five years of age will pay half the adult fees.

Vehicles will be charged between US$5 for small cars and US$20 for buses and lorries while foreign-registered vehicles will pay US$30 each.