As global tourism readies for a third year of navigating complex COVID-19 rules and regulations, the KAZA region of southern Africa is lobbying for standardised testing rules for inbound travellers.
As tourists who visit the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area often cross borders to visit the five countries that make up the region, regional standardisation of PCR testing validity would facilitate easier travel throughout the area.
The Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe and Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe are leading lobbying efforts with the Ministry of Tourism, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and Ministry of Health. The calls are for the length of time a PCR test is valid across southern African countries to be extended to a regional standard of 72 hours or longer, to give travellers more flexibility and time to visit Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
“We are in the middle of our booking season for 2022-2023, and we hope to receive the help we need in the form of the review of these travel restrictions so that people can book for the peak season into 2023,” says Anald Musonza, Deputy Chairman of the Vic Falls COVID-19 Taskforce and Africa Albida Tourism Resort GM.
“If we don’t get this relaxation in our travel restrictions, we will lose bookings, and we may as well forget about 2022 as the comeback year for tourism,” he warns.
Musonza is hopeful the tourism and hospitality sector of the region will soon get a much-needed reprieve in the form of standardised testing regulations.
In terms of what advice can be given to travellers wanting to visit the KAZA region in the meantime, he advises that all arrivals carry their vaccination certificates and negative PCR test result certificates. The negative test result is the key document that port health authorities check at all points of entry into southern African countries, he advises.
Musonza also confirms that Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in particular has a high rate of vaccination, and while booster shots will be on their way for staff working in the area soon, mask-wearing is still mandatory in all public spaces as an extra precaution.
Lack of quarantine clarity in Zimbabwe
There is also ongoing lobbying for clarity on the current quarantine requirement for travellers arriving in Zimbabwe.
Travel News recently reported that Zimbabwe had not implemented its mandatory 10-day quarantine for arrivals, but the Statutory Instrument has not yet been officially amended to reflect this.