Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
THE Victoria Falls City Council is courting investors to develop top class sports facilities in the resort town in an effort to diversify its economy.
Sport is a low-hanging fruit that the local industry has not embraced.
Victoria Falls is the only city in the country without any competitive topflight sport and this has been attributed to lack of sporting facilities and support by the local tourism industry.
The only available facility, Chinotimba Stadium, has been condemned as unsuitable.
Residents have made repeated calls over the years for council to upgrade the ground into a multi-purpose sporting facility to attract sports tourism and generate revenue for the city.
Victoria Falls council spokesperson Ngqabutho Moyo said the Covid-19 pandemic had opened the local authority’s eyes to realise the need for diversifying the economy and invest in sport.
Tourism is the only economic activity in Victoria Falls and its decline due to Covid-19 has affected every facet of the city.
“Residents’ concerns are genuine and I am sure their concerns will be addressed in a reasonable time. We are trying to promote a certain level of industry that is pollution or environmentally friendly. Our hope is to make sure that this town does not only rely on tourism, so we’ve gone back to the drawing board and looked at sport as a viable alternative,” said Moyo.
“We allocated one or two organisations land to develop upmarket or international standard sport fields and they have not done anything.
So, we are calling on other players that were interested in the same spaces to develop such international sporting facilities to come forward so that we are able to attract another market related to sport tourism,” he said.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union once approached council seeking to upgrade Chinotimba Stadium into a multi-disciplinary sport facility to host various activities, but no follow-ups have been made.
In 2014, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) was allocated land in the industrial area to build a 10 000-seater cricket stadium, which would have seen the country having a third Test ground to complement Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo and Harare Sports Club.
The project has remained a pipe dream due to ZC’s financial constraints.
Some investors have also expressed interest in constructing a motor racing and Grand Prix course in Victoria Falls.
A swimming pool renovated using United Nations World Tourism Organisation legacy funds is also lying idle. — @ncubeleon