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May 4, 2015

World of DMCs Snapshot: New Airport Boosts Victoria Falls' MICE Appeal




“Wonder of the World” destination Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, seems poised to enjoy a surge of popularity with the near-certainty that 2016 will see the start of longhaul direct flights from Europe and elsewhere.

The new Victoria Falls Airport, with three sky-walks, is at an advanced stage and is scheduled to open before the end of this year, together with its already-completed runway capable of handling wide-bodied aircraft.

The destination’s incentive pioneer, Glen Byrom, leader of destination management company Twiice Victoria Falls, expects the airport to be a “game changer” that will have a significant impact on the towns of Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and, across the bridge over the Zambezi River, Livingstone in Zambia.

“We know that several airlines from Europe and the Middle East are in talks to get in early,” he said. “We’ll be showcasing this major news at IMEX Frankfurt when we hope to have more substantive information. Arrivals should increase dramatically and many pundits expect Victoria Falls to rapidly transform into the new tourist hub of southern Africa.”

Victoria Falls (Zambia and Zimbabwe), often called the Adventure Capital of Africa, was selected by world tourism body UNWTO for its successful global summit in August 2013 to spark significant momentum.

Since 1992, when the destination began attractinginternational meetings and incentive groups, there have been countless visits from the world over because of several enticing factors.

Victoria Falls is a signature attraction – the largest curtain of falling water in the world. At its peak, the Natural Wonder of the World is a mile (1700m) wide and has the wildlife-rich Zambezi River falling more than 100 metres into the gorges. 
The famous century-old bridge that crosses the Zambezi River, in full-sight of the Falls, divides Zimbabwe and Zambia where, on both sides, incentive attendees can take part in both soft and more strenuous activities and multiple three- to five-star hotels and small lodges, as well as modern meetings facilities for 10-500.

Activities can include: One-day white water rafting; canoeing the Zambezi; bungee-jumping 111 meters off the bridge; helicopter and micro-light flights; luxury vintage steam trains with sunset cocktails on the bridge; swimming in Devil’s Pool at the edge of the falls; elephant-back safaris; walking with lions; fishing; luxury cruises; championship golf course where wildlife roams free; 4 x 4 and walking safaris and more.

The big bonus for planners is that nothing is more than 10-20 minutes away, not even airport transfers, and traffic is kept to a minimum. 
For host hotels, consider the five-star 77-room David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa located at the edge of the Zambezi and with its own new 280-seat modern conference centre, boma and wildlife waterhole where elephants are apt to stroll past during a session. And 80 kilometers away, the Chobe National Park in Botswana is a good pick for pre- or post-function safaris and the largest elephant herds on earth.  


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