By Criswell Chisango
KARIBA,November 5, 2015– Hardly a year after embarking on Harare-Kariba route aimed at boosting tourism in the resort town here, Eagle Liner luxury coach is abandoning the route following $100 000.00 losses since December 2014.
In a statement, the luxury coach indicated that they will no longer service the route from 9 November due to losses incurred.
‘’May you kindly be advised that we will be pulling out our coaches from Harare-Kariba and return route with effect from Monday 9 November 2015. This service to notify you all that our last trip will be on Sunday 8 November 2015’’ read a statement released this week and in Radio Voice of the People’s possession.
However, the statement further claimed that the route was not financially viable as the company incurred losses since late last year.
‘’This was not an easy decision for us but circumstances have forced us. As we speak since 1 December 2014, when we started plying the route, we have incurred a cumulative loss of more than $100.000.00. I am sure you will appreciate the effort that you have all made in trying to strengthen this service. However the coaches will bedirected to other routes including Harare-Bulawayo and Marondera-Musina routes’’ the statement continued.
The pulling out of the coaches will have a negative impact on Kariba Publicity Association(KPA), and move to lure some international tourists who used to fail connecting flights from Harare to Kariba that is unreliable. The tourists were using the coaches during their visits to Kariba.
KPA acting chairman Nigel Ncube said it is disheartening that their efforts are facing challenges.
‘’The coming on board of the luxury coach was welcome as there were also assisting our international and domestic clients. They were time conscious. It is a big blow to us but we are grateful on their gesture though the response was not to their expectations as a business entity,’‘said Ncube in an interview.
Some workers confirmed that the route is not viable as they were not getting more forty passengers daily.
‘This was a loss making business venture as the response was mild. We never went to places where majority who use public transport are. We were not getting more travellers and management were not innovative to get a better clientele base,’’ complained one worker who declined to be named.
Tour operators said they were saddened by the pull out by Eagle Liner though it was for the elite.
‘’We welcome the luxury coach but as public transporter they avoided such places where majority would be waiting. Their picking and dropping points were elite and they lost out to their competitors that way’’ added the operator who declined to be named.
As Eagle Liner withdraws, CAG continues serving the route.
Kariba is a resort town where tourists visit to have a glimpse of one of the world largest man made dam that generates electricity for Zimbabwe and Zambia. Furthermore there are wild animals including elephants, buffaloes, lions, cheetah and warthogs among others besides the beautiful scenery.
The national airline Air Zimbabwe also resumes flights to the once popular tourist destination but has also reportedly made a loss amid inconsistent flights to the dwingling tourist attraction.