Zim-Zam univisa ‘coming soon’ – South African Tourism Update

21 Jul

 Zim-Zam univisa ‘coming soon’ – South African Tourism Update

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The univisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia, successfully piloted between 2014 and 2015, will soon be fully implemented, according to Chilala Mayanda Habasimbi, Zambia Ministry of Tourism Acting Principle Tourism and Development Research Officer.

“We are hoping soon. I can’t give you an exact date because Zambia is going into elections but I’m hoping everything moves quicker, despite the elections,” said Mayanda Habasimbi. “The memorandum of understanding is almost cleared.” He said there was a need to see how the project could continue forward following the ending of the pilot project on December 31, 2015.

Francis Ngwenya, President Zimbabwe Council of Tourism, said he hoped it would be implemented quite urgently. “But unfortunately it is something that has to be signed off on both sides of the Zambezi River, and it’s not just the ministries of tourism but also for the immigration counterparts to sign off.

“The last time we followed up, there was an agreement but it’s now a matter of getting the paperwork and the signatures.”

Thomas Dhliwayo, Operations Manager – Jenman Zimbabwe Safaris, said operators were told that the univisa project had been resumed at a tourism meeting two weeks ago. “Immigration officials are now just waiting for the visa stamps and, once started, we will be updated.”

Zambian Minister of Tourism and Arts Jean Kapata said last year that the initial univisa project between Zimbabwe and Zambia had been very successful and it would be extended < http://www.tourismupdate.co.za/article/49783/Univisa-to-be-extended-to-Namibia-Botswana-and-Mozambique> to other SADC countries including Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique.

However, it’s unclear when Botswana will be added to the univisa. “When the initial univisa was launched in Zambia and Zimbabwe, we were under the impression that, within six months or less, Botswana would be the first of the SADC countries to join and also become part of that,” said Ngwenya. Mayanda Habasimbi said the univisa between Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana would depend on the authorisation of all three countries and was unable to say when talks with Botswana would begin.

“We would love to have Botswana, and we believe there’s also interest shared by Angola to be included, but we haven’t had any information that there’s an agreement to that,” said Ngwenya.

Will the univisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia encourage more tourists to visit both countries? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.