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Albida refreshes Africa.

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After decades of skyrocketing inflation and restricted competition, Zimbabwe has a new look and a refreshed tourism platform which is attracting Australians in growing numbers. The new-look tourism product combines the appeal of iconic attractions such as Victoria Falls while merging a scope of add-on experiences ranging from budget-based family safaris to luxury tented camps and high-end safari experiences across Zimbabwe and Botswana. Africa Albida chief executive, Ross Kennedy, said the product mix was proving popular with Australians who are now the company's second largest international market. "The last few years have proved to be a watershed for Zimbabwe and we are now in a position to compete directly and strongly with South Africa's popular nature-based attractions.

Mr Kennedy said a significant catalyst has been pegging the local currency to the US dollar, which has stabilised the country's skyrocketing inflation which ran as high as 6.5 sextillion percent. (6.5 followed by 21 zeros) in November 2008. "Inflation of this magnitude meant there was no foreign investment and no competition, so tariffs were high, confidence was low and there was little to no investment in product development. "With the currency stabilised came renewed confidence and we are now seeing millions being poured into new properties and upgrading of existing resorts. More than eight new camps were established in Hwange last year alone with a further five established in the Victoria Falls region."Mr Kennedy said the Africa Albida group had also seized the opportunity to diversify and was working with a broad group of partners to package a range of new products and experiences for all budgets and travel preferences. "The model uses our world class safari resort at Victoria Falls as a base and provides a choice of add-on experiences. "All products are of a similar standard and are highly experiential, but offer pricing options to suit various travel preferences, so we have exceptional, value-based safari products shared across some of the world's best game reserves including Chobe and Hwange.

 In addition to the camps, Africa Albida is working with traditional local communities to develop new activities. "Guests can match accommodation options to their budgets and still be guaranteed access to all the iconic experiences you expect from high-end safari, so we can offer traditional safaris, walking safaris, canoe safaris, night game drives and boat cruises on the Chobe River. Local communities benefit through levies and employment while guests gain a rare and authentic insight into the traditional community life. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge serves as the base for Africa Albida's safari operations. The resort has recently emerged from a $4.9million upgrade which included the introduction of a new upmarket family product - the Safari Suites - as well as new Safari Club rooms complete with butler service. The current program of renovations will see another raft of improvements including new bathrooms and the addition of more glass to open up rooms and bring nature in. - See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/feature-1/2014/05/26/albida-refreshes-africa.html#sthash.AAiufQ2s.Up3F8Ed7.dpuf

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