ZIMBABWE and Zambia have potential to generate about $4,8 billion per year from tourist arrivals through Victoria Falls International Airport once the upgrading exercise is complete, a Cabinet Minister has said. In 2013, the government embarked on a $150 million rehabilitation programme of the airport, whose commissioning is expected at the end of next month.
Responding to questions in Parliament last Wednesday, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi said prior to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly in Victoria Falls in 2010, the government initiated the airport project so that it would go forward to receive and process more visitors.
He said before the development of the Victoria Falls International Airport, the airport handled about 500,000 visitors per year.
“We anticipate that Victoria Falls alone will process between 1,8 million to two million visitors per year. If you combine the added on infrastructure from Zambia, we should be doing between three and four million visitors going forward,” Mzembi said.
“If each visitor comes to spend in the Victoria Falls, our average spent for international tourism is $1,200 per visitor. You can do your own computation and see how much $1,200 times four million will give you. It’s $4.8 billion, which is bigger than the size of our fiscal budget, just coming through Victoria Falls alone.”
The Victoria Falls International Airport expansion project involves construction of a four-kilometre runway, extension of the existing runway, erection of a new terminal building, and road network and car park.
Mzembi said his ministry together with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development would make sure by the time the airport is commissioned at least five airline agreements would have been signed.
Last year, Mzembi expressed optimism that Zimbabwe was set to earn a whopping $5 billion annually when work to revamp its tourism infrastructure is completed.
Source: Vic Falls a $4,8bn cash cow: Minister (13/06/16)