Leonard Ncube , Victoria Falls Reporter
LUPANE State University (LSU) has acquired land to build an international school of hospitality and tourism in Victoria Falls to enhance quality and widen the base of personnel needed by the tourism industry.
The development comes after requests from major players in the tourism industry about not getting support from the academic sector in terms of appropriate skilled personnel in the area of hospitality and tourism.
Despite being the country’s tourism capital, Victoria Falls does not have a tourism school, hence it lags behind in terms of requisite skills needed in the industry.
The industry relies on outsourcing personnel from other parts of the country where there are hospitality and tourism schools such as in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Harare and Gweru.
This had over the years created animosity as locals complained about importation of labour saying they are sidelined.
Establishment of a tourism school in the resort city, will come as a relief both for local residents who will get an opportunity for training in their own backyard as a majority of them are employed in the sector, and the industry which will also have a pool of skilled personnel locally.
The only university in Matabeleland North Province, LSU, acquired two-hectares on the Buffer Zone between Chinotimba and the Hwange-Victoria Falls highway, bordered by CBZ houses and hospital on the northern and southern ends.
The institution’s works department was supposed to connect water to the site yesterday with the help of Victoria Falls City Council as both parties have finalised all processes.
Plans for the satellite campus which will also have on-campus accommodation for students have been approved and construction work will start within six months, LSU marketing and communications director Mr Zwelithini Dlamini said during a site visit yesterday.
He said the tourism school is going to assist in the training of requisite human skills that should support tourism and hospitality industry as well as improve livelihoods and the economy.
“LSU has acquired 2ha of land from the Victoria Falls City Council and we intend to use this land to construct a school of hospitality and tourism. We are aware that Victoria Falls and Hwange corridor are part of our prime tourism in the country and therefore as the only university in the province of Matabeleland North, management has seen it fit we come up with an international school of hospitality and tourism which will assist to anchor the economy of the country,” said Mr Dlamini.
“We, therefore, hope that our works department should start connecting water to the stand and perimeter wall will be erected to protect the property. Plans for construction have been approved and actual work should start within six months.”
Mr Dlamini implored stakeholders from the tourism region of Matabeleland North to support the idea of the international school as its existence has win-win results.
“We will open as a satellite to the main campus in Lupane considering that hospitality and tourism is a practical subject and therefore we would expect students to be accommodated on campus. I hope this will be a major contributor in raising standards of the country and tourism industry generally,” he said.
Mr Dlamini said being a national and international institution, LSU will enroll anyone who wishes to study tourism related courses regardless of province of origin.
It will also target international students basing on Victoria Falls’ proximity to Botswana, Namibia and Zambia and popularity of the destination.
LSU operates from Bulawayo and Lupane campuses with an enrolment of over 5 000 students. [email protected]