Q&A: Smiling at Zim boom

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Q: Who or what is Africa Albida Tourism?

A: A private limited company made up of a small group of individual investors and shareholders, encompassing entrepreneurs, hoteliers, accountants and developers.

Q: Are there any elements of business travel, or is your focus solely on leisure travel?

A: We do target certain sectors of business travel across the MICE industry, from international, regional and local markets, as well as the pure business traveller who has to spend time while on a business trip in one of the areas where we operate.

Q: What are your thoughts on the current state of African tourism?

A: It has so much to offer visitors, but there is currently a trend, in Southern Africa especially, towards an oversupply of room stock. The nations where tourism is now developing should take heed of that.

Q: Have you seen any change in the patterns or habits of the African traveller?

A: As African travellers become exposed to so much more choice, price and quality, they are, and will become, increasingly more demanding with regards to service, standards and quality. This, in turn, is good for the industry at large, as it helps drive competitor reactions, and encourages market forces to work.

Q: How have hotels and hotel groups had to adapt their offering, to remain up to date?

A: In many ways, but more critically with respect to technology, training and productivity, environmental awareness and, also, developing a much more flexible approach to the needs of guests in order to stay competitive.

Q: Where are you seeing the most traffic – Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia?

A: The growth in traffic into Zimbabwe is the bright light, currently. Arrivals into Zimbabwe are significantly up on 2009 and 2010 figures and are growing monthly in 2011. Victoria Falls alone had growth of over 20% in the period from January to July 2011 compared with the same period in 2010. This has resulted in over 13 000 additional room nights in that period, with growth in average room rates and RevPAR (revenue per available room) to match.