Victoria Falls Reporter
GOVERNMENT has availed 274 hectares of land near the Victoria Falls International Airport for the expansion of the resort town, as it intensifies efforts to mordenise the tourism hub into a global destination of choice.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi told Chronicle that modernising Victoria Falls town into a special economic zone of tourism was part of the economic blueprint – Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset).
The expansion programme involves rehabilitation of the airport which is currently under way and building state-of-the-art facilities such as hotels and a conference centre.
He said government wants Victoria Falls to be its conference capital.
“We have made serious advances to make Victoria Falls the gateway to our economic recovery. Our vision is to make the best of Victoria Falls town and we intend to modernise it with new hotels, new venues for conferences with the best facilities,” he said.
“We have set aside 274 hectares of the most prime land near the airport as you move towards the city up to where we are limited by the heritage site and this will be the site for construction of all these facilities.”
The Minister said they were in the process of finalising modalities so that work could start soon.
“This is part of Zim-Asset,” said Minister Mzembi when asked about funding and when the project would start.
“We will soon be extending invites to developers who would like to partner government and take advantage of the transformation. We are going to issue an international expression of interest statement for development because we want to have hotels, conference centre, and entertainment facilities as we mordenise Victoria Falls.”
During a separate occasion, while addressing delegates at the Region Africa and Middle East conference earlier, the minister said government was open to all partnerships including with clearing and shipping agents as well as hoteliers as they were part of tourism expansion programmes.
“Victoria Falls should be the gateway to the country and gates should remain open. Because of the work we have done with you, government will look at you as first investors. There will be incentives you have never seen in this country as part of that development. I promise that will be our first special economic zone of tourism and you will be assisted by a new tax regime and incentives,” said Minister Mzembi.