Following on from recent reports that the US$50 Uni-Visa introduced in 2014-2015 to ease travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia had been suspended, the KAZA TFCA UNIVISA PROJECT issued the following statement on 7th January 2016:-
We, the Republics of Zambia and Zimbabwe, two Partner Countries of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), participating in the pilot phase of the KAZA UNIVISA Project wish to advise our valued stakeholders of the following regarding the KAZA UNIVISA Project:
1. The Pilot Phase of the KAZA UNIVISA PROJECT which was launched on 28 November 2014 for an initial period of six months to 31 May 2015 and subsequently extended by the Ministers responsible for KAZA TFCA for a further six months to 31 December 2015 has come to an end.
2. While the Pilot Phase has come to an end, issuance of the UNIVISA will continue while Zambia and Zimbabwe address challenges faced during the pilot phase in preparation for inviting the other KAZA Partner Countries i.e. Angola, Botswana and Namibia to join the UNIVISA PROJECT as was directed by the Ministers responsible for KAZA TFCA.
3. The UNIVISA will continue to be issued in the same format as in the Pilot Phase and among the challenges to be addressed will result in the reduction of the time it takes to issue the visa.
4. We would like to inform our valued stakeholders and customers that, KAZA TFCA Partner Countries are desirous to easy movement of tourist across the five Partner Countries and increase tourist arrivals and length of stay in the region, therefore we would like to recognize stakeholder’s role in publicizing the KAZA UNIVISA.
5. We therefore wish to thank all our valued stakeholders and customers who participated in the Pilot Phase and call for your continued support to make the UNIVISA a reality first in the KAZA TFCA and subsequently in the SADC region.
According to the Zambian Tourism Board, the recent non-availability of the visa has been due to the fact that visa stickers are out of stock. New visa stickers have apparently been ordered and should be available shortly at the borders once again.
The KAZA Uni-Visa is seen as a win-win for Southern African tourism. “It is a wonderfully positive initiative by the two governments and the addition of neighbouring countries in our tourism hub will be extremely well received by many source markets. Hats off to all involved in getting this fully launched and working efficiently and smoothly...as soon as possible." said Ross Kennedy, CEO of Africa Albida Tourism which operates the popular Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and its associated facilities.
According to Dave Bennett, Chief Sales Officer for Wilderness Safaris “The UniVisa will do much to promote hassle-free cross-country combinations. It is also an opportunity for joint marketing between these southern African countries, as they each have unique and complementary offerings for travellers.”
(Map Image courtesy of SA Tourism Update)