Footsteps Through Time

Footsteps Through Time
A History of Travel and Tourism to the Victoria Falls - - click image to visit site

Monday, 30 July 2018

Vic Falls’ $1.2 bn project takes shape

Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga has presided over the ground breaking ceremony of $1.2 billion worth of investment projects in Victoria Falls which are set to transform the resort destination as a competitive international tourist’s destination and spur earnings as well as tourists traffic.

The four-pronged investment to be implemented by Dubai headquartered firm, Feonirichi will see the construction of a grand prix circuit, a convention centre, a shopping mall and a state-of-the-art medical resort.

The investment, which has been accorded the national project status and is set to be afforded special tax incentives, marks the pioneering projects for the Victoria Falls special economic zone.

The project was mooted during the 2018 Arabian Travel Market and three months down the line, a ground breaking ceremony has been held to mark the commencement of the initiative.

Vice President Chiwenga said the mega project is set to position the resort town, which is currently enjoying record numbers as an attractive destination, ensures product diversification and unlocks the full potential of the tourism sector.

Feonirichi Group CEO, Mr Prince Adebayo said the firm is privileged to be afforded a chance to contribute to the growth of the local tourism industry and announced that the hospital will offer free services for expecting mothers and children below the age of 13.

The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Prisca Mupfumira and the Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs, Ambassador Cain Mathema said the investment is a result of the Zimbabwe is open for business drive and expressed confidence that it will set the tone for more investments into the special economic zone.

All the projects are expected to commence soon after the finalisation of the environmental impact assessment.

The convention centre is expected to ensure that the country bids for major international events while the grand prix circuit is set result in hosting of major motor racing events.

The ground breaking ceremony was graced by government officials, captains of industry, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) officials, the tourism industry, traditional leaders and Victoria Falls residents.

Source:  Vic Falls’ $1.2 bn project takes shape (29/07/18)

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Zim tourism 'enjoying a rebound... tourists returning to majestic Victoria Falls'

After nearly two decades in the doldrums, Zimbabwe's tourism sector is enjoying a rebound, with visitors returning in droves to see the majestic Victoria Falls and explore unspoilt safari reserves.
The number of foreign visitors to Victoria Falls, the southern African country's flagship destination, jumped nearly 50% in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2017, the tourism minister says.
Countrywide, arrivals rose by 15% to 554 417, according to treasury statistics.
Political and economic turmoil under longtime autocratic ruler Robert Mugabe had wrecked the sector, but authorities and tourism operators now believe the industry has a new lease of life.
Mugabe was ousted in November after a 37-year repressive rule during which tourists shunned the country, fearful of police demanding bribes, crumbling infrastructure and scarce fuel.
Cash was also in short supply from 2009, when hyperinflation forced Zimbabwe to abandon its own currency in favour of the US dollar.
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"We were in a closed period for a long time," admitted Tourism Minister Priscah Mupfumira, speaking ahead of key elections on July 30. "We closed ourselves in, doors were locked."
Since Emmerson Mnangagwa took over as president from Mugabe in a de facto coup last year, "we are poised for growth", the minister told AFP.
"There are good vibes from the industry and from the international world - everybody is so positive," she said.
With Zimbabwe's economy still in tatters, an influx of tourists is expected to help bring in desperately needed revenue, with the sector already contributing around 10% to GDP.
"It's a key pillar to our economy and a low-hanging fruit - we just have to get our act together," Mupfumira said.
But visiting Zimbabwe is generally more expensive compared with neighbouring countries.
Good feeling
"It is not a cheap holiday," said Ilan Wiesenbacher, a restaurateur in Victoria Falls, where the Zambezi River plunges over a gorge and raises a mist that can be seen more than 20km away.
"We have seen a steady rise in numbers," said Wiesenbacher, manager at the Three Monkeys restaurant. "There is a general good feeling around Zimbabwe and tourism."
Even in the traditional low season from January to March, craft beer brewer Jake Le Breton had more glasses to fill at his River Brewing Company bar in Victoria Falls.
"We have just come out of a quiet season... (but) it was a busy time with a higher number of tourists than we have seen in previous years," said Le Breton, adding that local hotels have been fully booked.
"The general sense in this country, especially from a tourist, is one of anticipation, one of excitement."
Lloyd Machaka, who operates Chikopokopo Flights helicopter tours over the Victoria Falls, has also seen more visitors from Malawi and the southern African region.
"Hopefully we will have more investors coming in to build more hotels, bigger hotels. We want more airlines coming here," said Machaka, standing by one of his helicopters.
'I feel very safe'
Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines now fly direct to Victoria Falls's smart new airport.
"I feel very safe, the people are welcoming. Getting the visa was really easy," said Canadian tourist Katelyn Pretzlaff.
French tourist Patrice Lehmann, who was visiting the Victoria Falls for the third time, said: "It's one of the most impressive things I have seen in my life."
Zimbabwe has also removed the notorious police roadblocks that had become a constant annoyance for motorists. Typically, drivers reluctantly paid bribes to evade long questioning over minor alleged offences.
"The issue of roadblocks - it was a disaster, a real problem," the minister admitted.
Authorities have launched an aggressive drive to "reassure the world that Zimbabwe is open for business, Zimbabwe is a safe, peaceful tourist destination," Mupfumira said.
Alongside "Vic Falls", the country's highlights include Lake Kariba, the vast game-filled national parks of Hwange and Mana Pools and the Eastern Highlands mountains.
Mnangagwa, a former ally of Mugabe, has vowed to hold a clean election next week as proof of the country's fresh start, but many critics say the same Zanu-PF party chiefs still call the shots.
Mnangagwa is the favourite to win, but any dispute or violence over a close result could spell a return to instability.

Friday, 20 July 2018

New look Victoria Falls airport attracts more airlines

VICTORIA Falls International Airport is overwhelmed by visitors, a development that has seen some airlines either increasing frequency or introducing bigger planes to meet demand.

The new look facility was commissioned two years ago following a $150 million refurbishment and now has capacity to handle wide bodied aircraft and 1,5 million passengers annually.

Airlines that use Victoria Falls Airport include Air Zimbabwe, Air Namibia, British Airways, Fastjet, Ethiopian Airways, Kenyan Airways, South African Airways and SA Airlink.

Inquiries by The Chronicle established that Ethiopian Airways and South African Airlink have been occasionally bringing bigger aircraft due to an increase in demand.

Airlink, which uses the 37-seater Embraer EJ135 plane, has on three occasions this month flown an 83-seater plane on its Cape Town-Victoria Falls route due to demand.

The Ethiopian Airways brought the new Boeing 737 series last week to relieve the Boeing 787 Dreamliner due to demand.

The two airlines started flying into Victoria Falls last year and have been consistent in their schedules.

Airlink flies six days a week except for Saturday connecting the two tourist destinations of Victoria Falls and Cape Town.

Ethiopian Airlines flies four times a week between Addis Ababa-Victoria Falls-Gaborone-Addis Ababa on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Sources from both airlines, who preferred to remain anonymous because they are not authorised to speak to the media, said the bigger planes will be occasionally coming based on demand.

Air Namibia and Fastjet have also increased frequency into Victoria Falls.

Air Namibia, which used to fly three days, now flies five days a week on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday while Fastjet now flies twice daily between Harare and Victoria Falls for six days except for Saturday.

The airliner also flies between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg on Thursday and Sunday.

Victoria Falls Airport manager, Mr Ronnie Masawi, yesterday said the facility was overwhelmed with numbers as more people continue to trickle in.

He said the current hype is expected to prevail until the end of the year.

"We are right in the middle of the peak season in Victoria Falls and airlines are reporting a higher number of passengers that they are bringing to Victoria Falls and flying out on a daily basis.

"We expect this to continue up to the end of November," said Mr Masawi.

The Zimbabwe Council for Tourism early this year said the airport's capacity utilisation had risen from 21 to 26 percent while tourism players recorded a 20 percent boom in business owing to consistency by airlines in servicing the route.

Predictions by one of Zimbabwe's largest leisure groups Africa Albida Tourism last year showed that renewed interest by airlines to the new look facility would attract an additional 80 000 visitors annually.

Source: New look Victoria Falls airport attracts more airlines (19/07/18)

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Meikles to Expand Victoria Falls Hotel

Hospitality group, Meikles Limited, intends to expand its Victoria Falls Hotel in the resort town as it positions itself to capitalise on the anticipated boon in the tourism sector driven by the expected economic growth.
The group is also embarking on massive refurbishment of the hotel and its other properties across the country.
This comes as both the Victoria Falls Hotel and Meikles Hotel have enjoyed growth in occupancy during the first few months of the new financial year.
"A refurbishment programme for the Victoria Falls Hotel will commence before the end of 2018. However, of greater significance is a project to enlarge the hotel with additional accommodation which is currently in the initial stages of planning and implementation which need to be expedited," said executive chairman John Moxon in a statement accompanying the group's financial results for the year to March 30, 2018.
Zimbabwe's tourism sector is on a major rebound buoyed by a change in Government policy that has helped to market the country as safe investment destination. This has resulted in many tourists also visiting the country as buttressed by hotels that have recorded bookings until the end of the year.
The group, however, closed its Mega Market and 'M' stores, partly in the later months of the year and partly in the early months of the current financial year. At an EBITDA loss of $4,2 million, the segment was badly affected throughout the year by the absence of funds to the group from Government, a position which was still prevalent in the early months of the current financial year.
Source: Meikles to Expand Victoria Falls Hotel (17/07/18)

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Captive Victoria Falls elephant used in tourism tramples handler to death

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter

A 40-YEAR-OLD man who was employed as an elephant handler by a tour operator in Victoria Falls was trampled to death by an elephant on Saturday while rounding up a herd for penning.

Mr Jorum Ndlovu of 1043 Chinotimba suburb died on the spot following the attack.

His workmates Messrs Misheck Ncube and Nyasha Phiri tried to scare the jumbo away by throwing stones at it but their efforts were in vain, police confirmed. Rangers from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority shot dead the elephant.

Police officer commanding Victoria Falls District, Chief Superintendent Tadeus Madondo said a young bull elephant charged at Mr Ndlovu and trampled him to death.

“I can confirm that an elephant handler employed by Wild Horizons was trampled to death by one of the elephants. On July 7 at 8AM, Jorum Ndlovu, in the company of Misheck Ncube (42) and Nyasha Phiri (23) who both reside at Wild Horizon Camp drove seven domesticated elephants from the pens to the grazing area in the Wild Horizon sanctuary,” said Chief Supt Madondo.

“At around 11AM the three were ordered to drive back the elephants to the stables as there were some tourists who wanted to do a ride. As they are were driving them, two young elephants started fighting and other female elephants joined in.”

Chief Supt Madondo said the two young bulls fled in different directions as the bigger elephants charged at them.In the process, one of the elephants charged towards Mr Ndlovu who took to his heels.

“The elephant charged in the same direction of the handler who fled and it pursued and trampled on him. His two colleagues threw stones at the elephant to scare it away and by the time they got to where he was lying he was already dead,” said Chief Supt Madondo.—@ncubeleon

Source: Domesticated  Victoria Falls elephant tramples handler to death (10/07/18)
More: Victoria Falls Elephant Handler Trampled to Death By Jumbo (10/07/18)

More (external links):
SA’s elephant industry under pressure to end elephant rides (10/06/17)
The truth behind elephant back riding in South Africa (25/11/16)
Can elephant tourism be ethical? (The Telegraph, 02/02/16)
Breaking Africa's elephants (pdf report, World Animal Protection Canada)

More captive elephant incidents (from this blog):
'Domesticated' elephant shot after trampling handler, Victoria Falls (03/02/18)
Captive elephant used in tourist elephant-back safaris kills handler (Livingstone, Zambia) (02/04/13)
Elephant-back Safaris “Simply Accidents Waiting to Happen” Warns Top Tourism Insurer (10/05/17)
Captive Elephant Used In Tourism Safaris Kills Handler In Victoria Falls (19/12/08)

RTG completes Victoria Falls Rainbow Refurbishment

Listed Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) has completed refurbishment of the Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel in line with global standards and growing demand for quality accommodation.

Upgrading of the 88-room facility started last year when 46 rooms on the Mosi-wing were given a facelift while the remaining 42 in the Oa-Tunya wing were completed end of April this year after the hotelier set aside $1 million for the project.

Demand for quality accommodation by the source markets has seen RTG upgrading most of its facilities countrywide to meet standards.
Some of the changes at the hotel include an overhaul of floor tiles, repainting of walls with new artistic taste, beds, furniture, curtains, lighting, showers, toilet system as well as a new spa among other developments.
The new-look rooms also have a fusion of international and Afrocentric touch, with international standard sockets and USB cables meant to ensure that no client finds his or her gadgets redundant while booked there.
Staff members now wear “Afro centric” uniform while the picture frames hanging on the walls cater for both local and international taste.
Speaking during a media tour of Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel on Monday, general manager Mr Chris Svovah said the renovations are in line with the group’s taste of freshness and desire to satisfy all clients.
“One of our values as RTG is freshness hence we have invested $1 million to address a lot of issues. We are not ending there, we want to offer total hospitality and we are also going to re-do the restaurant and conference room as we want to be conference venue of choice and the concept is already there,” he said.
Mr Svovah said they will also renovate the Panorama Deck on the hotel’s rooftop, which gives an aerial view of the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls Rainforest as well as a view of Livingstone town across the river.
He said only two months after the renovations, occupancy had risen by 10 percent compared to the same period last year as the market responds.
“Our occupancy was depressed in the first four months of the year because we had closed the section for renovations. But comparing with June 2017 when we had 61 percent, June 2018 we had 70 percent due to the impact of renovations,” he said.
Mr Svovah said the hotel’s market was classified as 85 percent international and 15 percent domestic. He said to promote domestic tourism, the hotel had introduced a winter promotion as well as special packages for schools who also make up a bigger chuck of local tourists.
Meanwhile, the hotel donated part of its old equipment to Ndlovu Secondary School as part of its corporate social responsibility and appreciation of support the school have given to the hotel.
The items included eight toilet units, five basins, three bathroom mirrors and five air conditioners, which were received by the school head Mr Memory Ncube and SDC chair, Mr Alfred Ndlovu.
RTG corporate communications and innovations manager, Mrs Pride Khumbula, said the donated items were worth over $2 000. The hotel will also assist with installation of the items for the school.
A similar gesture was made by the group’s other facility-Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre, which recently donated linen valued at $7 500 to Tariro Children’s home, Rimuka Old People’s Home and Association, Kadoma General Hospital and ZRP.
Mrs Khumbula said refurbishment work was underway at the Kadoma Hotel with more than 90 rooms already done. — The Chronicle

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

$300m power project for Vic Falls

A VICTORIA Falls consultancy firm says it has raised $300 million to set up a solar and hydro-energy plant along the Zambezi River.
The plant, according to projections, is expected to produce 125 megawatts of electricity. Some of the energy produced will be fed into the national power grid.
Tendai Tidings Musasa, the Southpole Stalwardbuilt Zimbabwe in-country director told NewsDay Weekender.
“We have pooled funding to the tune of $300 million for the project. This will be used for the construction of the solar plant, training of personnel who will use the equipment that we have procured for the plant, as well as administration of the project,” he said.
“We have acquired new technology for this project. We will also be using hydro turbines which will be installed in the Zambezi for the generation of energy. Part of the power that will be generated from this project will be pumped to our data centre while the other part will be put up in the grid for the town of Victoria Falls,” he added.
Documents shown to NewsDay Weekender indicate that the project was approved by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) with its budget being factored into the ZIA foreign direct investment account.
ZIA chief executive officer, Richard Mbaiwa in a letter to Musasa confirming the approval of the project, said the authority expects it to commence this month.
“I am pleased to advise that the Zimbabwe Investment Authority has approved your application for an investment licence to engage in integrated renewable energy, ICT, rail, and road infrastructure development project in Victoria Falls.
“The authority expects you to commence implementation of the project within six months from the date of approval,” he said in a letter addressed to Musasa.
According to documents at hand, the project will be implemented in partnership with Stalwart Green Global International, an American institution.
A local bank, Stanbic Bank, has also come on board as the guarantor of the project. “We are at the stage where we are discussing the financial closure of the deal. It is not an easy stage, but I am happy to note that we have covered more ground. We are looking forward to commencing the project once these small knots have been tied,” Musasa said.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Zimbabwe: Huge Boost for Vic Falls As UAE Investors to Build World Class Hospital, Motor Racing Course, Shopping Mall and a Hotel

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says Victoria Falls will soon become the best world destination following a visit by investors from United Arab Emirates (UAE) who have expressed interest in developing state-of-the-art medical, grand prix, hotel and shopping mall facilities.
A technical team from UAE was in the resort town on Tuesday where it held a meeting with ZTA officials and Victoria Falls Municipality to assess the state of affairs in the country's prime destination.
Coming out of the closed door meeting, ZTA chief executive, Karikoga Kaseke, said the delegation was happy with what it had seen and was ready to pour in a huge investment.
"We met them when we went to Dubai with the Minister (Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira) and they expressed interest in investing in a tourist destination. Their choice was Victoria Falls which is why they are here," said Kaseke.
He said the investment, whose amount is still under wraps, would be towards developing a state of the-art-hospital to be used as a world referral centre, a motor racing course, a shopping mall and hotel.
Kaseke said as ZTA they were buoyed by interest shown by investors from different countries who want to invest in Zimbabwe especially in tourism destination centres.
Victoria Falls was designated as a special economic zone (SEZ) focusing on tourism and financial services.
However, the destination still lags behind in terms of world class facilities that can be of choice to tourists.
Some tourists prefer to land and book in Zambia or Botswana and cross into the country by road before going back because of lack of five star hotels, with the few available deemed too expensive for their standard.
The resort town has a room deficit of about 2 000.
Concerns have been raised about unavailability of sporting and recreational facilities which could boost sport tourism.
On a number of occasions, some tourists have been airlifted to Johannesburg or Bulawayo after being involved in accidents because there are no properly equipped medical facilities.
Source: Zimbabwe: Huge Boost for Vic Falls As UAE Investors to Build World Class Hospital, Motor Racing Course, Shopping Mall and a Hotel (01/06/18)

Vic Falls: Black market fuel hub

ARRESTS and prosecutions are not enough deterrent factors for illegal fuel dealers and the law has somehow failed to curb the vice.
It is a risky and fast business for Victoria Falls’ Mbongeni Dube (29) and his peers who call it a “permanent” job and are ready to die for it.
The residents too, have a huge appetite for the market mainly the taxi drivers as they claim that the precious liquid smuggled through our porous borders is purer than the local one.
Some of the smuggled fuel is sold on the streets, bush and houses in the high-density suburbs of Victoria Falls, while some finds its way to Hwange, 100km away.
“It is a risky trade; people have lost lives and property after smuggled fuel went up in smoke, but what can we do when they are no jobs,” Dube quizzed.
“It’s survival of the fittest and we are always ready for anything and day in, day out, law enforcement is after us, but we find a way to get away,” said Dube who plies his trade in the cover of the bush along Kazungula road.
“We are many of us and we give ourselves a target of about 3 500 litres minimum per week and it is paying off. We buy our fuel in Kazungula [Zambia] or Kasane [Botswana] and we find a way of smuggling it into the country through ungazzeted points in small gallons. It is not easy though, but one has to find means to survive,” another fuel dealer added.
“Upon arrival, we sell it in gallons, for example five litres goes for $7,50 cash and $10 when fuel stations are dry. We prefer Botswana fuel over Zambia because it is cheap. A litre goes for less than 80 pula while local fuel stations, like Zuva, sell a litre for $1,47 and Petrotrade for $1,42, so we make a lot of profit and we now have our regular clients,” Clive Chitsa explained.
A survey revealed that many local taxi drivers prefer black market fuel which they top up on credit and claim it does not damage their cars.
However some said they no longer trust, the dealers as they also sold ethanol-blended fuel.
“They only want cash and buying from a garage ends up better and we have realised that these people top up at service stations then lie to us that the liquid is pure. So it is a win-lose situation, but they always come in handy when there are fuel shortages in town like last week,” Macloud said.
According to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, smuggled fuel costs the country over $1 billion in undeclared levies.
In 2017, Zimbabwe and the Botswana Defence Forces officials launched a joint operation to curb the smuggling of fuel from the neighbouring country, but unregistered fuel dealers still evade arrest.
Fuel supplies have been dwindling in the country, with government officials blaming foreign currency shortages.
Source:  Vic Falls: Black market fuel hub (01/06/18)

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Impala Car Rental opens branch in Victoria Falls

Leading car hire firm, Impala Car Rental, is spreading its wings and recently opened a new branch in Victoria Falls as the company continued to gain a foothold on the hospitality industry.
Last year the company went regional, setting up branches in Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa while mulling plans to open other branches in Cape Town (South Africa), Lusaka (Zambia) and Botswana.
Impala Car Rental sales executive Tatenda Innocent Matiashe said opening a branch in the resort town of Victoria Falls was necessitated by the rapidly growing tourism industry.
“As a leading car hire, we discovered that it was most convenient to open a branch in Victoria Falls so that we serve our customers, mainly tourists and other people who would be visiting the resort town,” Matiashe told The Standard Style on Friday.
He said Impala Car Rental, which is in its 11th year of existence, was gaining a foothold in the travel and tourism in the region.
“Impala Car Rental has opened offices in Johannesburg and Durban. We will soon open offices in Zambia before we set up another branch in Botswana. We want to be a force to reckon with in the travel and tourism sector in the region,” he said.
Two months ago, the company got a major boost on its fleet when it imported five top of the range SUVs Jeep Cherokee models with another batch of Toyota Hilux models having imported last week.
“We have bolstered our fleet in preparation for the elections. We are expecting another batch of 10 sedans in the coming few weeks,” he said.
Matiashe said the Victoria Falls branch would provide services similar to those offered in Harare.
“We would offer services such as car hire, chauffer services, wedding packages and airport transfers just like we do in other cities where our company is found,” he said.
Impala Car Rental was established in 2007 with the sole aim of providing transportation solutions for the traveling public in and around Zimbabwe. However, the company has incorporated wedding packages and airport transfers in its line of business.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Man who survived fall into Victoria Falls

FIVE years ago, Wang Shunxue made headlines in both local and international media after he slipped and fell into the Victoria Falls but survived... Mr Wang, who is from China, narrated his horrific experience through an interpreter.

In November 2013, Mr Wang, who was 44 years old at the time, was visiting Zambia to conduct a market research on investment opportunities. The Chinese businessman had heard about the investment opportunities in Zambia when former President Michael Sata visited China in 2013, then he decided to travel to Zambia and see for himself.

During his visit, a friend invited Mr Wang to Livingstone to see the Victoria Falls. He lodged at the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel... A day after arriving in Livingstone, Mr Wang with two of his friends, and the Italian woman, went to view the Victoria Falls.

When they got near the Knife-Edge Bridge, Mr Wang’s friend asked him to take a photo of them with the falls as the backdrop. The Knife-Edge Bridge is one of the vantage points on the Zambian side where visitors can have a good view of the eastern cataract and the main falls, as well as the boiling pot, where the river turns and heads down the Batoka Gorge.

As he tried to take the shot, Mr Wang had not noticed that the guard rails behind him were broken. He slipped and plunged into one of the sections of the gorge...

Mr Wang said as he plunged down the gorge, he thought he was going to die, but he managed to grab some shrubs on the face of the cliff and rested his feet on a small stone to balance his body.

Two helicopters were called in to carry Mr Wang or his body from the gorge, but the rescuers could not see the stranded tourist from the sky.

“Soldiers and people who were at the scene started searching for my body. I could hear people calling out my name,” he said.

“I was now telling myself that as long as I’m alive, I have to survive. My friend went to look for help while some women at the scene knelt down to pray for me,” he said.

After hanging on the cliff for over an hour, Mr Wang was rescued by the fire brigade, who were helped by the state police. There was also help from workers from a company called Bundu Adventure, which conducts bungee jumping activities at the bridge.

Mr Wang said a man from Bundu Adventure went down the gorge using a rope and managed to put him into a harness.

“When I was rescued, people screamed, ‘hero! hero! God bless you.’

After the rescue, Mr Wang had a new perspective about life and God. He thinks God gave him a second life. He is also thankful to the people of Zambia.

“The Zambian people had given me a new life, and from then on, I decided to help 10,000 lives through provision of better medication before I die,” he said.

Mr Wang also decided that he would open a pharmaceutical plant in Zambia... His friend also promised to assist him achieve his business dream.

After the incident, Mr Wang decided not to inform his family members about his near-death experience, and he delayed his flight back home. His wife became anxious. When he arrived back in China, the first thing Mr Wang told his wife was that she was very lucky to hear his voice again.

Last March, Mr Wang’s dream was fulfilled. His pharmaceutical company, Kingphar, was opened by President Edgar Lungu. The plant is located in the Lusaka East Multi-Facility Economic Zone.
Mr Wang said all the equipment in the factory is high-tech imported from Japan, China, America and Australia.

Kingphar Company marks an important milestone in the local medical industry of Zambia, and it is also of great significance to the promotion of public health.

Currently, most of the essential medicine are imported from Asia, Europe and South Africa.
When in full operation, the Kingphar plant is expected to create more than 200 jobs and contribute more than US$6 million towards taxes per year.

Source: Man who survived fall into Victoria Falls (20/05/18)

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

New Dispensation Real Boon for Tourism

Since the coming in of the new political dispensation in Zimbabwe, tourism receipts have dramatically increased and statistics from the Victoria Falls alone, can confirm, captains of the tourism industry have said.
Hotels in the Victoria Falls, it emerged, are now fully booked for September and October, which has not happened in recent years, as Zimbabwe continues to open for business.
In presentations made on the side lines of the Africa Indaba Travel and Tourism Expo, in Durban recently, Africa Albida tourism chief executive Mr Ross Kennedy, Rainbow Tourism Group chief executive Tendai Madzivanyika and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief Executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke, separately acknowledged to boon in tourism.
Mr Kennedy said there was a 48 percent increase in air traffic arrivals at the Victoria Falls International Airport from January to April compared to the same period last years.
"This is not just a percentage. The additional tourist arrivals via the airport are actually 17 680 from last year's figures.
"Although the Victoria Falls Bridge has not done the same in terms of compiling statistics, the border posts around Victoria Falls recorded a 30 percent increase which is 87 000 people in the same period.
"There are now 55 scheduled flights from Victoria Falls each week and if you ask me, what was there last year, you get nothing near half of that. Try and link this to the rest of the country and see the multiplying effect.
"Our industry is driven by perception. One man went to Davos (President Mnangagwa) and things changed. We export more to happen this year," he said.
In a separate presentation RTG chief executive Mr Madzivanyika, confirmed Mr Kennedy's story and said the new dispensation had really opened the fortunes of the industry.
"There is serious recognition of the efforts by the new Government by the international community due to the re-engagement efforts. Indeed the efforts are bearing fruits. In the quarter of this year alone, our hotel occupancy increased by 20 percent.
"Where is the world have you seen such phenomenal growth in four months? It can only be in Zimbabwe. We all now have hope. Hope makes you face up and the moment you face up, you are going forward," said Mr Madzivanyika.
ZTA CE Mr Karikoga Kaseke said he was worried by the capacity of the Victoria Falls to have enough rooms for a boom in tourism.
"There is a an tour operator exhibiting here who approached me yesterday to say he has failed to get accommodation in Victoria Falls for a group of 20 in September. The industry then told me it is full up to end of October. It is going to be worse.
"We must start working on our room capacity," he said.
Source: New Dispensation Real Boon for Tourism (15/05/18)

Chinese, US firms in joint bid for Batoka

Global electrical engineering giants, China Power and General Electric (GE) of the United States have launched a joint bid for a contract to construct the 2, 400 megawatt Batoka Gorge hydropower project being co-developed by Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister Simon Khaya Moyo, while officiating at a Zesa annual risk management awards ceremony on Friday, said the two electrical engineering giants paid him a visit at his offices on Friday and expressed strong interest in the project.

The Energy Minister said that while Zimbabwe had successfully commissioned the Kariba South Extension project, in March this year, which added 300MW to national electricity grid, the country was remained shot of adequate power, adding Harare’s goal was to be energy self-sufficient as well as be a net exporter of power.

As such, Minister Moyo said that he would engage his Zambian counterparts to discuss ways in which the implementation of the Batoka power project, which the two countries urgently need to resolve power deficits in their countries, could be expedited.

The Batoka Gorge sits on the Zambezi River, whose administration the riparian states share.

It also supplies water to the jointly owned Kariba Dam, which the two countries use for power generation, 1050MW for Zimbabwe and for 1080MW for Zambia.

“This morning (Friday), I received representatives from China Power and General Electric (GE) from the US. They have shown great enthusiasm to move into Batoka (hydropower project),” he said.

“I do know my colleagues would want to accept this development. I will consult and we will meet, as members of the Zambezi River Authority to discuss how we can speed up the programme.”

The $3 billion Batoka power station will be situated about 60 kilometres downstream of the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River and is expected to improve the two countries’ power supply, currently in deficit and also feed into the Southern African Power Pool.

Zimbabwe and Zambia’s demand for energy are forecast to more than double by 2035.