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Thursday 28 October 2021

‘Speed up development of Vic Falls masterplan’

GOVERNMENT should speed up the development of the Victoria Falls Master Plan to create an appetite for investment in the country’s tourism capital.

The town is earmarked for national conferencing status after the Government approved the Conceptual Development Framework for the Victoria Falls-Hwange-Binga Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

There are also plans to come up with Masue City on the outskirts of the Victoria Falls City and Batoka City on the Zambezi gorges, which buttresses the combined development of Matabeleland North as a key component for transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

The new developments will come with state-of-the-art facilities ranging from five to seven-star hotels, recreational, banking and sporting facilities.

The Victoria Falls Stock Exchange was opened last year to attract foreign direct investment to the city.

Speaking during the 2022 pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls last week, Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda implored Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo and his National Housing and Social Amenities counterpart, Daniel Garwe to speed up the development of the Victoria Falls masterplan to make the resort city attractive to investors.

The two ministers had earlier presented papers on priority areas going into the 2022 financial year.

“The Victoria Falls Masterplan has stagnated. The establishment of an offshore financial sector in Victoria Falls will attract so many people once tourism starts picking,” said Adv Mudenda.

He said the resort city had a shortfall of 2 500 hotel beds and investors can only invest in new hotels once the masterplan is out.

“Can we have the masterplan completed as soon as possible so that new investors can come in,” said Adv Mudenda.

He said the development of the Victoria Falls-Manjolo-Binga-Kanyemba tourism corridor, for instance, will spur massive growth.

“There should be massive development and some of you will have to play critical role in this economic corridor. You have done special plans, let’s see action on the ground,” said Adv Mudenda.

Hwange West Legislator Mr Godfrey Dube urged the Treasury to set aside funds in the 2022 budget for the specific Victoria Falls project. He said the integrated plan should be sensitive to wildlife and the environment so as to manage human-wildlife conflict.

“The Victoria Falls Integrated Masterplan is of great importance and we have spoken about it since 2018. It will improve the face of Victoria Falls including Kazungula, which will be incorporated leading to growth of another town,” he said.

“This will also bring in investors especially on accommodation and we anticipate that the tourism industry will rise again in the near future.

“We want the Masterplan to be mindful of the fact that Victoria Falls has to maintain its natural being with controlled human developments,” said Mr Dube.

He implored the Government to seek partnerships with the private sector on these developments, adding that the Victoria Falls City Council, if allowed to retain a percentage of earnings from the Rainforest, can also spearhead development. 

Source: ‘Speed up development of Vic Falls masterplan’ (27/10/21)