Human traffic volumes at Kazungula border post continue on an upward trend with calls for urgent expansion of infrastructure as well as establishment of additional clearing points in order to cope with the projected increase in the tourists’ traffic and to avoid delays.
Statistics from the Department of Immigration show that for the period between August 01 to August 18, traffic volume stood at 21,259 compared to 18,214 recorded during the same period last year.
On the other hand, a total of 7,363 visas were issued during the period under review compared to 6,725 issued last year.
The growth in traffic has put severe pressure on the Immigration Department given the limited infrastructure and manpower with calls for urgent solutions to avert long queues at the border.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) CEO, Dr Karikoga Kaseke said delays at the border post have a negative impact on tourism, hence the need to urgently attend to the challenge of limited working space.
“It is evident that we didn’t prepare for this overwhelming influx of tourists at this border post. Long queues negatively impact the tourism sector, hence the need for urgent solutions to address the current challenges,” he said.
Regional Immigration Officer, Mr Vincent Mukombero admitted that the authority has working space constraints, adding that the department with the support from the tourism industry has set up additional counters which will be operational in the next few days.
“There are more people coming and at the same time, we are constrained in terms of working space. We are however glad that we will have new counters, a strategy to avert the long queues,” he said.
ZTA Board Vice Chairperson, Mrs Precious Sibiya said a conducive environment and harnessing of latest technologies is critical in unlocking the full potential of the local tourism industry.
“We need to move swiftly in addressing the current challenges at this border post. Tourism is certainly a low lying fruit, hence the need to create a conducive environment for increase traffic,” she said.
The country is targeting at least 2.5 million tourist arrivals in 2018, with calls for all the relevant government departments and the tourism industry to be ready for the projected further surge in arrivals.