Ross Kennedy, CEO of Africa Albida Tourism, discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Victoria Falls region’s tourism industry. Kennedy shares the tough business decisions that were necessary for survival, but also highlights the community outreach programs and focus on sustainable and eco-friendly tourism practices that emerged during this difficult time. With a commitment to its long-standing employees and a vision for a more cooperative and efficient border system, this conversation is a must-listen for anyone interested in the future of tourism in southern Africa.
The Victoria Falls region in southern Africa has been a central hub for tourism for over 50 years, with the flagship Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show being just a few of the many offerings provided by Africa Albida Tourism. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the tourism industry to re-evaluate its priorities and adapt to the new normal.
In a recent episode of Kusa Cast, “A Conversation with Ross Kennedy”, the CEO of Africa Albida Tourism discussed the impact of the pandemic on the region’s tourism industry. He noted that tough business decisions, such as cost-cutting measures and putting the estate into a care and security status, were necessary to survive. However, the community came together to provide outreach programs, feeding programs, and care for children.
The pandemic also brought about a new focus on sustainable and eco-friendly tourism, with the industry implementing measures to make borders more user-friendly and efficient. Ross emphasised the importance of getting bureaucracy right and making borders quick, efficient, and clean ports of entry. The goal is to create a culture of cooperation with competitors and make the region a desirable destination for visitors.
The Victoria Falls region is made up of four countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia, and is part of the KAZA Transfrontier Conservation Area. Ross believes that the lasting difference from the pandemic will be a focus on sustainable and eco-friendly tourism, as well as community outreach and training programs.
Africa Albida Tourism has a strong commitment to its employees, with many team members having been with the company for 20-30 years. They recently held a long service award ceremony, with three people receiving their 30-year awards and six receiving their 25-year awards. During the pandemic, businesses in the region were judged on how they treated their staff, and history will likely continue to judge them based on this.
Kennedy believes that the pandemic has taught important lessons that will continue to shape the future of the tourism industry in the region. Cost-cutting, efficiencies, and productivity will be critical in the post-pandemic world, but so will sustainable and eco-friendly tourism practices. The Victoria Falls region has always been a beautiful and unique destination, but with the right priorities and focus, it can become an even more desirable place to visit for years to come.
To learn more about the beautiful experiences of Africa Albida Tourism, click here.