The tourism sector alongside Governments is gearing themselves for the UNWTO General Assembly to be held August 24-29 in Livingston, Zambia and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. There is much cooperation between the two countries Zimbabwe and Zambia as well as some healthy rivalry.
The hotels to be used in Livingstone will be The Royal Livingstone, David Livingstone Safari Lodge, Zambezi Sun, Protea Hotel, Courtyard Hotel, Chrismar Hotel and Fallsway Lodge. In Victoria Falls Town it will be Elephant Hills Hotel, Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Ilala Lodge and possibly Cresta Sprayview which has just completed its renovations. All the hotels are in tip-top condition and many have undergone rehabilitation works recently. The Royal Livingstone, as an example, spent US$7million last year to upgrade its facilities – it is really now a hotel to compare with the best in the world.
The conference facilities are being set up at Elephant Hills on the Zim side and at the Falls Resort on the Zam side. All hotels have high-speed internet connection as the conference is trying to become a paperless one with no trees cut down for its deliberations!
I have not heard much about transport and the logistics of busing the delegates between each country. I really hope that the trucks are removed for the period as not only do they clog up proceedings but they are an eyesore. Also I have not heard anything about the yellow fever inoculation requirement for people visiting Zambia. It seems such a ridiculous rule when we do not have yellow fever here at all and that anyone visiting the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe does not require a yellow fever certificate and yet if they travel half a kilometre over the border to Zambia they do. Don’t we just love bureaucracy … the purpose of which often seems to be keeping people in jobs …
On the rivalry side I know that both Zambia and Zimbabwe are keen to present the best of their talents during the event. Zambia will hold a Miss Tourism Show where the best looking young ladies of Zambia will vie to become top. This will be held at Chrismar Hotel on 26th August. On the Zimbabwe side a music festival will be held at the beginning of the Congress and a Golf Tournament too. I am sure there will be lots of fringe events with both countries showing their best sides.
In the meantime the townsfolk are wondering if they will see anything of this much-hyped event. The chances are that the delegates will be holed up in meetings every day and not get the chance to see some of the local colour. But it is not the delegates that the people have to impress; it will be the camera crews from TV stations all over the world who will come. I am sure we will find them out and about in the towns, in the markets and talking to the local people.
In Zambia tourism professionals say : We must all be on our best behaviour …