Houseboat Thesis Chapter 1

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CHINHOYI UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

SCHOOL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM

DEPARTMENT OF TRAVEL AND RECREATION

Tourist perceptions on service quality delivery by Tour Operators in Kariba

By Michael Hatineyi Musiyiwa
C097680X
Semester 4.2
Year: 2013
Supervisor: Mr. B. Hurombo

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study
Houseboat sailing activities is a popular activity in Kariba(citation), the resort town opened up development for private boat operators to offer the visitors of the magnificent resort an opportunity to sail the calm waves of the lake through early morning and sunset cruises, speed boat fishing trips, and canoeing. The houseboat operator business composition in Kariba is one of the major revenue earners as these are done all year round with the support of the activity coming from the wild safari game drives and village/guided tours acting as secondary business. Zimbabwe underwent economical challenges from the beginning of the millennium to early 2009 and the issuing of travel warnings to Zimbabwe by the international community gave a scare to the international visitors and some stopped visiting the country. Likewise Kariba tour operators suffered heavily as tourism took a slump and the unstable economic environment made it virtually impossible to operate. On the 14th of March 2010, Protea hotels on their website http://www.proteahotels.com/a-new-lady-on-lake-kariba.html published the acquisition of “Southern Belle” one of the biggest boats in Southern Africa from Zimbabwe to Zambia. The travel warnings had a great psychological effect in influencing destination perception with countries like the USA branding Zimbabwe as a country full of crime according to http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1063.html “U.S. citizens and other foreigners are perceived to be wealthy and are frequently targeted by criminals who operate in the vicinity of hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas of major cities and tourist areas such as Victoria Falls and Kariba” . With the dwindling economy posed many questions to the extent at which service in the cruise industry was being delivered if any delivery was taking place at all. Market concentration took a shift to the domestic market as the domestic market was the only the major alternative to sustain the badly hit cruise operations in Kariba, however due to the high inflation rate in the country the local market could not simply sustain the houseboat cruise operations as expenses were looming everyday and brought unstable price systems which deterred the local market from participating fully in their tourist activities as people opted just for hotel stays and leave other activities when visiting Kariba. The other factor is that of the tour operators in Kariba only two of the operators that is Pesha Safaris and James McKenzie’s Walking Safari’s own their own boats for cruise, rental and other activities and these were existent before the closure of UTc and Hertz. The other tour operators (especially for sunset cruises and houseboat hiring services) rely on commission of sale from the boat owners who ultimately have the power to lease or not to lease the boats to tour operators and the more recent and better boats are more expensive than the older boats hence the tour operators often resort to cheaper boat hires in order to maximize profit. Again the use of house boats for cruises often leads to overloading and questions being asked over the safety of passengers in these old cruise houseboats. In contrast to the latter the latter the tour operators claim to strive for excellent service provision. 1.2 Statement of the Problem

There is a marked decline in demand for houseboat and cruise renting activities in Kariba. in Kariba Case Study estimated that there were 4,000 boats operating on the reservoir including 1,500 houseboats and other pleasure craft operating from several marinas (Scudder 2001) opposed to this there are presently an estimated...
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