THE government has availed 300 hectares of land for the setting up of a special tourism economic zone in Victoria Falls while negotiations with an Indian company to set up a hotel in the resort town are nearing conclusion. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the government was working towards improving the tourism sector’s contribution to economic growth through providing necessary incentives and support.
“We’ve already taken a decision in Cabinet to establish a special tourism economic zone in Vic Falls. Some 300 hectares of land has already been made available by the government to the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality for the development of this special economic zone,” said Chinamasa. “Tourism is currently contributing 10 percent to the country’s GDP but as the government we’re working towards improving that to 20-30 percent. We look forward to an increase in tourism contribution to the fiscal exports receipts.”
Minister Chinamasa said the completion of the Vic Falls Airport would see bigger aircraft landing in the tourism city. The multimillion dollar Vic Falls international airport currently under expansion will change the face of the region and the airport which is going through a $150 million face-lift will be capable of landing and handling, in all conditions, long haul wide body jets.
Victoria Falls airport is expected to accommodate three times more passengers than it currently handles. Despite thousands of tourists visiting the resort town every year, there has been little investment in infrastructure. The expansion work, which is being carried out by China Jiangsu and funded by China Exim Bank, also includes upgrading the domestic terminal building, constructing a new fire station, control tower and installation of state-of-the-art aviation equipment.