By Leonard Ncube
Victoria Falls Reporter
VICTORIA FALLS is the second-best place to visit for holiday and leisure in the world, according to Geo Fernweh, a German travel inspiration magazine.
Despite the disruptive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has grounded the tourism industry on the back of international travel restrictions, the country’s prime resort has continued to attract interest of international holiday makers.
The publication confirms that Germans and other nationalities would long to visit Zimbabwe among their top bucket list of destinations.
This comes days after American Travel + Leisure magazine named Victoria Falls Safari Lodge one of the best in the world and among top five facilities in Africa.
Players in the tourism industry are buoyed by the development saying it boosts confidence and speaks to the need to establish direct airlinks with countries like Germany among others.
Fernweh said Victoria Falls is a rare natural wonder, which any traveller would want to visit in their lifetime and ranked it second after Tanzania’s Spice Island on the coast in Zanzibar.
Virunga of Congo, Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Sahara in North Africa, Western Cape in South Africa and Raja Ampat in Western New Guinea come a distant down the ranking as the only other African destinations to make to the list, which comprise selected places from across the globe.
In one of its reports, the German magazine lists the 50 most beautiful places in the world and places Victoria Falls, which it identified as being in both Zambia and Zimbabwe, as number two.
“There are places that are beautiful and there are landscapes that simply take our breath away: We present 50 dream places worldwide where nature has surpassed itself,” it said.
“It’s discoverer David Livingstone named the widest waterfall in the world after the British Queen Victoria in 1855. The locals call it “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (“thundering smoke”) and use it to describe the spray of water that rises from the gigantic Victoria Falls and can still be seen 30 kilometres away.
“The water masses of the Zambezi, which thunder down a hundred meters here, have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989,” said the publication while describing the mighty Victoria Falls.
Regarding the spice island of Tanzania’s coast, the magazine said it “not only offers the most beautiful beach fun because of its dream beaches, but also always a little time travel into the past. Zanzibar is influenced by the Arab world, the hinterland, which is characterised by the cultivation of spices and the exotic markets give the island its special face.”
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) Victoria Falls chapter chairperson Mr Anald Musonza, said this was a confidence booster for a destination, which is grounded by the pandemic.
“This listing of destination Victoria Falls by this German media publication Fernweh as Number 2 of the Top 50 ‘Longing for far-away places’ gives us confidence that regardless of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Victoria Falls has remained a bucket list destination for the whole world,” he said.
“Most people have actually realised that they need to visits Victoria Falls once in their life time and the pandemic has shown us life is very short.
“As Hospitality and Tourism Industry, this helps us to market more to those who are eager to travel as soon as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed. We need to position ourselves well to understand the new demands in our products and services so that we can appeal to this market and service it’s needs.”
Mr Musonza called for capacitation of the Victoria Falls International Airport to be a hub of the region.
“This speaks to the need to make our destination accessible by making the International Airport a hub to make sure Germans can fly direct from Munich, Frankfurt; Berlin, etc to Victoria Falls,” he said.
“We need such enablers to be in place and also for us to keep following Covid-19 regulations and have less and less new cases and better recovery rates and a robust voluntary vaccination programme that covers the whole country.
“This listing is testimony to how beautiful Zimbabwe is and we can all be proud of our country and it’s natural endowments in tourism product,” said Mr Musonza.