Zimbabwe and Wildlife Management Authority Zimparks, has aligned the Victoria Falls rainforest entry fees for locals to the prevailing inter-bank exchange rate in response to the recent monetary measures which will see domestic tourists paying more than $15 RTGS from the previous $7 RTGS.
In a statement released this Sunday, Zimparks announced the review of the rain-forest entry fees structure for locals in a development which will see domestic tourists being charged based on the prevailing exchange rate.
Before the realignment of the entry fees, locals were paying $7 RTGS or alternatively US$7 while entry fees to the national parks stood at $5 RTGS.
On Sunday, domestic tourists who were in the resort town had to pay $20RTGS to view the waterfall regarded by some as the greatest curtain of falling water on the planet.
While some domestic tourists had reservations concerning the new fees structure, others say the move is in line with the prevailing market forces and should contribute the maintenance of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Entry fees for international tourists who constitute the larger percentage of the annual entries to the rainforest remain unchanged at US$30 for adults.
Regional tourists will continue to pay US$20 for adults.
Zimparks Public Relations Manager Mr Tinashe Farawo described the move as a mere realignment of the entry fees to the prevailing market conditions, adding that the authority remains sensitive to the concerns of the domestic tourists.
“The move by the authority to align the rain-forest entry fees to the exchange rate comes at a time where some service providers are pegging their services in US dollars in response to the re-introduction of the inter-bank market.
“With just few days before the Easter holidays it remains to be seen whether the new fees structure will have any impact in terms of domestic tourists’ entries into the rainforest,” said Farawo.
The tourism industry has grown steadily in Zimbabwe over the last decade generating over US$856 million in export revenues in 2013.