Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) has announced it opened its Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate last Friday after closing three months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Victoria Falls, a prime tourism resort, has been deserted since the outbreak of the virus which has resulted in restricted international travel.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation recently noted that the global travel industry had been hard hit by COVID-19, with international tourist arrivals envisaged to plunge between 60% and 80% this year, translating to a loss of up to US$1,2 trillion.
Up to 120 million global jobs that are directly related to tourism are at risk in one of the worst crises to face international tourism.
Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) chief executive Ross Kennedy said the opening of business after 100 days follows the reopening of the Victoria Falls Rainforest.
“For the morale of hospitality people, it could not have come soon enough. We look forward to welcoming guests back to the estate, albeit with only parts of the business operating,” Kennedy said.
“We shall monitor demand, access and borders as the region awakens, then gradually open more of the property,” he added.
“We have published some exciting special packages for the Zimbabwe market and already have enquiries and bookings. “We look forward to the day when all air and road access is open again so that this Natural Wonder of the World, the Victoria Falls, can be seen by all.”
Victoria Falls recently recorded one of the highest waterfall in ten years of 4 200 cubic metres per second.
The company said from July 10 it had opened Lokuthula Lodges, the Victoria Falls Safari Club central building, along with eight rooms, as well as two Victoria Falls Safari Suites.
AAT operations manager Andy Conn said having had ample time to view the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding around the world, the hospitality group had evolved its health and safety protocols in accordance with WHO guidelines.
“Whilst we appreciate the dramatic impact of the pandemic, and hence the need to adopt new protocols, we would ultimately like to ensure the guest experience is affected as little as possible and a natural safari getaway can still be enjoyed,” Conn said.
New protocols will include the temperature screening of guests and staff, the regular sanitisation of facilities, availability of sanitisers, controlled staff and guest interaction and ongoing staff training and education to identify risk and mitigate the spread of viruses.
AAT is a leading Zimbabwean hospitality group, operating a portfolio of properties in Victoria Falls, namely, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls, Safari Suites, Lokuthula Lodges and The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show.