Tour operators in the resort town who spoke to The Zimbabwean said the ban would adversely affect their operations as they had made bookings as far back as last year.
“We have long-standing bookings. It would have been better if this directive had been communicated to us well before the summit,” said Clement Mukwasi, the Public Relations Manager for Shearwater Adventures, which operates the Zambezi Helicopter Company – the largest private copter in the country.
Mukwasi said his company had invested a lot of money in the acquisition of extra –large “bubble “ shaped windows which vastly improve the panoramic views from the aircraft and enhance the experience of a scenic helicopter flight.
“We have already fitted three helicopters with these custom- made tourist viewing windows. We will continue to engage the government so that everyone is a winner,” he said. Another operator, who declined to be named, described the ban as suicidal. “We had hoped to market Victoria Falls to the world through these helicopter tours. But unfortunately the government has banned them for the duration of the summit. We hear our Zambian counterparts have not banned these flights. So all the tourists will be moving into that country to get this service,” said the operator.
Announcing the ban, Walter Mzembi, the outgoing Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, said the ban was meant to minimise noise during the summit’s plenary sessions.
The UNWTO summit will run from 24 to 29 August.Post published in: News