Nothabo Nyathi, Business Reporter
LOCAL tourists have appealed to tour operators to reduce charges for the various activities which they say are very high and as such work against efforts to promote domestic tourism.
The Government, through the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry is campaigning for revitalisation of domestic tourism saying locals especially civil servants should be capacitated to be able to visit resort places in the country.
The charges for the different activities are very high and as such are beyond many Zimbabweans who might want to go on holiday.
Victoria Falls residents have used different platforms to complain that they are being sidelined from enjoying local resources because of the high charges.
Some have taken to social media, where they have implored operators to reduce charges or introduce special packages for locals as part of measures to promote domestic tourism.
Some of the activities offered especially in Victoria Falls include bungee jumping, tour of the Rainforest, white water rafting, boat cruise, game drives, flight of angels, elephant ride, lion walk, and gorge swing, among others.
The tour of the Rainforest is probably the only activity affordable to locals as adults pay $7 and kids $4.
The other activities in the resort town range between $100 and $300 per person.
Some of the activities are charged in packages of three.
Zimbabweans pay less for the Rainforest tour compared to what is paid by foreign tourists but for other activities the charges are the same for both locals and foreign tourists.
Responding to locals’ concerns, Employers’ Association of Safari and Tourism Operators spokesperson, Mrs Mercy Mushangwe-Ncube conceded that the charges for activities are very high.
“It is true that prices are high and we wish to try and emulate what the national parks have done at the Rainforest where fees are categorised into local, regional and international,” she said.
Mushangwe-Ncube implored operators to consider reducing prices saying this would help promote domestic tourism.
“Reduction of prices will attract local people to actually come and enjoy the local activities which are being offered by tour operators.
“This is a challenge to operators to come together and review their packages so as to promote local tourism,” she said.
However, she said operators have made efforts to make their rates affordable to local through offering special packages based on the seasons.
“There is really a need for tour operators to re-look into their pricing.