Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
ZIMBABWE and Zambia are working on integrating the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (Kaza) Uni-Visa into their internal systems to increase efficiency.
This comes at a time when an estimated 25 000 visitors used the facility since its re-launch in December last year.
The visa was initially launched in 2014 in an effort to ease the movement of visitors to Zambia and Zimbabwe, especially those visiting the Victoria Falls area so as to transform the region into a more competitive tourism destination by eliminating the need for tourists to obtain multiple visas.
It was suspended at the end of the pilot programme in January 2016 for review before being re-instated end of last year.
However, Zambia reportedly recently stopped issuing the visas owing to a shortage of stickers at four of its ports of entry namely Livingstone Airport, Lusaka Airport, Kazungula and Victoria Falls.
The Uni-Visa stickers were still available in Zimbabwe’s Harare International Airport, Victoria Falls International Airport, Victoria Falls and Kazungula border posts although reports say they could also be running out of stock.
Each visa costs $50 to allow visitors multiple entries into both countries as well as day trips to Chobe in Botswana for 30 days.
Concerns are being raised that the fact that the stickers were finished in Zambia was a sign that there are more arrivals into the country via that country.
As a result, Zimbabwe was not benefiting much as tourists would then cross for day activities and spend more money in the neighbouring country.
In an interview, Kaza liaison officer for Zimbabwe Mr Godfrey Mtare allayed fears that the stickers were finished.
He said the situation was under control as both countries were working on embedding the visa system into their national internal systems.
“We can’t say stickers are finished but both countries are working on integration of the system while at the same time working on printing more stickers,” he said.
The Kaza Uni Visa is overseen by the regional transfrontier organisation which covers Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Angola although the facility covers only two countries.
“The process will take about a fortnight hence it’s likely to be ready end of this month. This will definitely increase efficiency and push volumes in terms of number of people using the facility,” added Mr Mtare.
“Demand has been quite high with an estimated 25 000 tourists having used it,” he said.
Mr Mtare said once embedded the facility will surely attract the other three Kaza countries that were yet to implement it.
The Uni-Visa is open to citizens of 65 countries in Category B of both Zimbabwe and Zambia visa regimes.
Travellers can still use normal single and double entry visas.
Integrating the system will also see both countries now printing the visa locally following deliberations at a recent join meeting in Victoria Falls.