Vaccinated Tourists Can Now Visit Zimbabwe's Iconic Victoria Falls
Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls has opened to vaccinated travelers as the country is eager to restart its tourism industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is in view of the realization that over 60% of the population in Victoria Falls has been vaccinated," Zimbabwe's Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said of the attraction's opening, according to VOA News. "The lockdown measures, however, are being enforced throughout the country in order to curtail a surge under the third wave of COVID-19."
In opening Victoria Falls — which has been closed since March of 2020 — Zimbabwe has also opted to open its borders with Zambia and Botswana to encourage domestic tourism. Travel within Zimbabwe is extremely doable for vaccinated travelers, whether they're coming from a neighboring country or halfway around the world. However, tourists who aren't vaccinated will be subject to frequent testing requirements if they intend to visit certain areas and attractions within Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe closed its borders and suspended flights in March of 2020 and then restarted domestic flights the following September. International flights resumed with certain restrictions for visitors in October of 2020, according to Reuters.
Currently, restaurants in Victoria Falls are allowed to serve sit-in customers something that is not allowed in the rest of Zimbabwe, according to The Associated Press. The rest of the country still has tight restrictions as a result of the current surge driven by the delta variant of the coronavirus, with a rise in hospitalizations happening among those who are unvaccinated.
Travelers heading to Zimbabwe, whether vaccinated or not, still need to be tested before arrival, according to the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe.
Tourism has been an essential part of Zimbabwe's economy, as a roadmap to expand the industry to $6 billion by 2023 was revealed in November, according to the Zimbabwean news site 263 Chat. The sector could lose up to $1.1 billion with international arrivals dropping 70 to 87 percent, the acting chief executive of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Givemore Chidzihdi, told the outlet last July.