Martin Kadzere and Tinashe Makichi
Mosi Oa-Tunya Development Company, a joint venture between the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe intends to develop a multi-million tourism integrated park in Victoria Falls.
The project, which will be anchored by an International Conventional Centre is expected to bring immense benefits through expected growth in tourism arrivals, increase in tourism generated income and job creations across the value chain, IDBZ said.
Sitting on 272 hectare of land, the park will also have a resort hotel with casino, theme park, presidential villas, town houses, shopping mall with offices and banks, medical tourism centre, tourism emporium for African culture and African Culture Centre for live performances. Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is expected to grow faster and could become a $5 billion market, more than double its current size.
“Victoria Falls Airport has been expanded to handle increased tourist volumes,” said IDBZ. “However, existing facilities in Victoria Falls Town are not adequate to meet an increase in the number of tourist in the town.” Victoria Falls, also known and the Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning the Smoke that Thunders, is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and among the most famous attractions in Africa.
The resort town has been conferred as a Tourism Special Economic Zone, a development that is expected to trigger increased investment to realise it tourism potential.
Presently, Victoria Falls has 1 781 rooms and hotels constitute 1 125 of the rooms while the remaining balance being lodges and other accommodation facilities.
Passengers’ arrivals recorded a 21 percent increase during 10 months to October 2017, according to the Civil Aviation Authority. Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality director Douglas Runyowa said efforts were underway to increase Victoria Falls tourism products offering for it to match its regional peers.
“Land for diversification of tourism products in the resort town has since been secured and the idea is to make sure Victoria Falls becomes competitive compared to other towns like Livingstone in Zambia,” said Runyowa. Already, the Government contracted a Chinese company to expand and modernise Vic Falls Airport.
The Government contends that modernizing Victoria Falls would alter and add to the colonial legacy of infrastructure and stock of tourism facilities in the resort. The Government’s position regarding development if tourism stems from the fact that the sector is regarded as having potential to turn around the domestic economy.
“The sector offers great potential for creating employment opportunities, generating foreign currency, spreading wealth across the geographical sparse and poverty alleviation,” said Runyowa.
Property developers such as CBZ Holdings and Zimre Property Investments have flocked to the resort town to take advantage of the opportunities available there.
ZPI is looking at constructing a $13 million shopping mall in Victoria Falls as the property company expands its property portfolio. The move has been necessitated by the recent upgrade of the Victoria Falls Airport as an International Airport.