(Thursday, 04 April 2013)
Government is set to the reverse the relocation of the Elephant Hills helipad in Victoria Falls as negotiations between government departments to find lasting solutions are currently underway. The negotiations, which are been spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry are expected to be complete soon.
Information gathered so far has proved that delegates at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly will benefit immensely from the helipad, a development expected to increase tourism receipts.
Shearwater Adventures Group Public Relations Manager, Clement Mukwasi said they are confident an agreement will be reached for the growth of the tourism industry. “We appreciate that negotiations have opened up between the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development and other stakeholders. This is indeed positive for the sake of the tourism industry,” he said.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Walter Mzembi said issues surrounding the helipad are being held at the ministerial level, adding that the relocation of the helipad will be retrogressive for the industry. “Negotiations are on-going and as a ministry, we have thrown our weight behind Shearwater as the helipad will be crucial for delegates at the General Assembly. We hope tenure concerns between the firm and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development will be ironed out,” the Minister said.
The Elephant Hills helipad has been under the spotlight since the announcement of Victoria Falls as the venue for the UNWTO General Assembly, with some stakeholders pushing for the construction of a convention centre at the site. The decision to relocate the helipad is being reviewed following information that there is no need for the construction of a physical infrastructure as tents will be put in place for the tourism premier event.