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Livingstone- Zambia: Efforts to promote the KAZA region as a destination first, before individual tour operators market their destinations of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are bearing fruit –as evidenced by the just ended Africa’s Eden Buyer Show held in Livingstone this week.
The theme of these collaborations puts empathises that while the region offers unrivalled diversity in its cultural diversity and wildlife, collaboration would help individual member from the different countries to complement their product offering.
Most of the tour operators attending this week’s Show conquer that promoting the different destinations in silos was working against the growth, and recovery of the industry in the region. This therefore calls for collaborative efforts for the promotion of a regional brand as a collective, to allow for the travel world to see Brand Southern Africa (Kaza) as one product.
Another message that keeps propping is that of inter trade travel among regional players before looking outside was key in further bolstering the industry.
Thus Africa’s Eden, a dynamic membership based tourism entity that represents over 400 properties, activities, and tour operators spanning Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia this week provided a platform featuring 120 exhibiting tourism members and 120 international tourism buyers for one on one meetings.
Key to its functions is that Africa’s Eden primary objective is to promote and highlight the diverse beauty, cultural heritage, and exceptional experiences its member destinations offer.
For the three days, at the Radisson Blu Mosi-oa-Tunya, Lingstone the platform provided highly interactive back to back meetings also provided the buyers an opportunity to experience destination Livingstone through both boat cruises in mighty Zambezi River and also visits to the Victoria Falls Bridge on board Bush Tracks Express.
One other important feature about the Show is that it is hosted on a rotational basis among the participating countries, and this allows first hand experience of the different, and the organisers believe this is more impactful than ‘merely showcasing photos and videos at a travel show.’
Representing destination Botswana, Ker and Downey Managing Director Fran Hird highlighted the significance of the hosted buyer show, which bring a large number buyers under one roof with the region’s tour operators.
“We are here selling destination Southern Africa, first and foremost, and then we break down into our different destinations before we go on to our different companies and what they have to offer in terms of services and properties,” Hird shared.
Hird reiterated that the location of Botswana between the other three countries allows for a combination of the different destinations in an itinerary.
“It’s really ideal to be linking the different destinations because everyone is offering something different,” she said.
Africa Travel Tours director – based in Livingstone Lovemore Machipisa said it is exciting to sell Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia under one portfolio because the destinations complement each other.