By Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
SHEARWATER Adventures has acquired a 100-seater up-market cruise boat to cater for executive tourist clientele. The two-deck boat was manufactured by a Bulawayo company at a cost of about $500 000 and is already in Victoria Falls ready for use on the Zambezi River.
Shearwater spokesperson Mr Clement Mukwasi said the development was a response to demand by the market in the wake of renewed interest in destination Zimbabwe.
“This is a 100-seater boat but we’ll use it as a 60-seater because the facility we are providing is not an ordinary cruise. We’re doing an up-market luxury cruise whose price and target market is different from the ordinary market,” he said.
“The boat was made in Bulawayo for almost half a million dollars including transport because we needed to introduce luxury cruise on the upper Zambezi. This is a sign that the destination is growing in terms of numbers because if numbers were not in a positive trajectory we wouldn’t be investing in such huge amounts of money. We’re doing so because there is growth in the Zimbabwean economy.”
Mr Mukwasi said the tourism industry was buoyed by the new lease of life and confidence ushered in by the new political administration.
There has been no specific luxury cruise boat here as operators would just offer executive services using the ordinary, though bigger boats. The new boat comes with a new dimension that has been lacking in the country’s prime tourist destination.
“We have done market analysis and identified the need and so the making of the boat was informed by availability of the market and the boat is ready for immediate use.
“Most companies are already fully booked for the festive season and we are coming in to increase capacity of destination. We have two types of tourists namely backpackers or ordinary tourists and exclusive executive tourists who want time with families or groups and get value for their money and so this activity has been lacking on the river,” he said.