Vic Falls mos­quito me­nace hits tourism Govt avails more land for tourism

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Leonard Ncube in Vic­to­ria Falls Mid­lands Cor­re­spon­dent

TINY as they are, mos­qui­toes are re­port­edly wreak­ing havoc and scar­ing away tourists in Vic­to­ria Falls, the coun­try’s prime tourism des­ti­na­tion.

The in­sects are a prob­lem at this time of the year and have in­fested the re­sort town es­pe­cially ho­tels and lodges with clients re­port­edly rais­ing alarm to op­er­a­tors and author­i­ties to take ac­tion.

In re­sponse to com­plaints by the pub­lic and tour op­er­a­tors, the lo­cal au­thor­ity says it would fast-track its spray­ing pro­gramme — due to start on Mon­day next week.

The re­sort town has also ap­proached its coun­ter­parts in Liv­ing­stone and Kasane in Zam­bia and Botswana re­spec­tively to har­monise the spray­ing pro­gramme since they are also af­fected.

This came out at a bud­get con­sul­ta­tive meet­ing on Mon­day evening when res­i­dents from wards one, two and three, which are all in the low den­sity ar­eas, met to give their ‘wish list’ to coun­cil as the lo­cal au­thor­ity con­sults to­wards the craft­ing of the 2017 bud­get.

Said a res­i­dent from Ward 1: “We’ve a chal­lenge with mos­qui­toes. Clients in ho­tels are com­plain­ing about these mos­qui­toes.

“The coun­cil should bud­get for spray­ing of mos­qui­toes. Firstly, you should make an en­vi­ron­ment as­sess­ment be­cause last year you sprayed but mos­qui­toes be­came too many and up to now the sit­u­a­tion has not im­proved. Maybe the chem­i­cal you used THE Gov­ern­ment has al­lo­cated 378 hectares of land to the Min­istry of Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity in Vic­to­ria Falls as part of ef­forts to turn the re­sort town into a fi­nan­cial and hos­pi­tal­ity cen­tre, Act­ing Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa has said.

Speak­ing at the re­launch of Golden Mile Ho­tel in Kwekwe at the week­end, Act­ing Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said the move is part of the grand strat­egy of com­ing up with a spe­cial eco­nomic zone (SEZ) pol­icy.

“We’ve also iden­ti­fied the Vic­to­ria Falls as a fi­nan­cial and hos­pi­tal­ity cen­tre and in that re­spect. I’m glad to ad­vise that 378 hectares has been al­lo­cated to the Min­istry of Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity and this is an op­por­tu­nity for those who would want to de­velop ho­tels and hos­pi­tal­ity fa­cil­i­ties,” said the Act­ing Pres­i­dent.

The SEZ Bill is await­ing ap­proval to pave the way for the des­ig­na­tion of ar­eas to be given such sta­tus. killed spi­ders that feed on mos­qui­toes.”

Par­tic­i­pants at the meet­ing, most of them ho­tel and tour op­er­a­tor man­agers con­curred Mean­while, the Act­ing Pres­i­dent has com­mended the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try for peg­ging some of its prices in the South African rand as part of ef­forts for the sec­tor to re­main com­pet­i­tive on the re­gional mar­ket. He said: “I’m happy to note that the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try is the first to ap­pre­ci­ate that the United States dol­lar de­nom­i­nated pric­ing model doesn’t work in a re­gion­ally com­pet­i­tive mar­ket such as ours, and have thought of how, in or­der to match South African and Zam­bian com­pe­ti­tion, they could peg some of their prices in rand. “But to re­main com­pet­i­tive, costs of op­er­at­ing such busi­nesses would need to be aligned to the rand de­nom­i­nated sales. If this pric­ing model is suc­cess­ful, other in­dus­tries and sec­tors might also fol­low suit, even­tu­ally ben­e­fit­ing the wider econ­omy.” Act­ing Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa chal­lenged the Na­tional Com­pet­i­tive­ness Com­mis­sion to crit­i­cally in­ter­ro­gate the cur­rent pric­ing struc­ture, with a view to de­vel­op­ing a com­pet­i­tive pric­ing model that could help stim­u­late eco­nomic growth. — @ lavuzi­gara1 that there “were too many mos­qui­toes in town.”

Last year res­i­dents com­plained to the lo­cal au­thor­ity that Dichlorodiphenyl­trichloroethane (DDT) the chem­i­cal used to spray mos­qui­toes dur­ing the town’s indoor resid­ual spray­ing (IRS) pro­gramme was in­ef­fec­tive.

They al­leged that mos­qui­toes in­vaded their houses soon af­ter spray­ing and some house­holds re­fused to have their houses sprayed. Coun­cil’s Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices di­rec­tor Mr Lot Si­a­tim­bula con­firmed re­ceiv­ing re­ports about the high pres­ence of mos­qui­toes.

“My of­fice has been in­un­dated with phone calls about mos­qui­toes. We have been us­ing DDT and peo­ple ob­jected and now we’ve changed to an organophos­phate chem­i­cal as we’re go­ing to start on Septem­ber 26,” said Mr Si­a­tim­bula.

“We’ve checked with Zam­bia and Kasane so that we spray at the same time be­cause mos­qui­toes can travel up to 6km hence we have to har­monise our ef­forts.

“Last year we were do­ing indoor resid­ual spray­ing and we’re chang­ing to a three­tier sys­tem, which is indoor us­ing an organophos­phate chem­i­cal as well as fog­ging on out­door ar­eas and spray­ing all breed­ing ar­eas such as ponds and pools.”

He said last year the coun­cil sprayed 65 per­cent of prop­er­ties while 30 per­cent re­mained breed­ing places.

“We be­lieve these ini­tia­tives will make an im­pact even though we wouldn’t be 100 per­cent ef­fec­tive be­cause when we spray wa­ter bod­ies we can­not spray Zam­bezi River,” said Mr Si­a­tim­bula as he warned that the pro­gramme will have a bear­ing on tar­iffs.

He said of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of Health and Child Care vis­ited ho­tels last week to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion.

Mrs Yvonne Yan­dles, chair­per­son of Busi­ness Against Crime Fo­rum of Zim­babwe (BAFCOZ), how­ever, ex­pressed con­cern that the min­istry was ask­ing for con­tri­bu­tions yet spray­ing of mos­qui­toes in ur­ban ar­eas is a pre­serve of lo­cal author­i­ties.

She asked why the Gov­ern­ment con­cen­trates on ru­ral ar­eas. Town Clerk Mr Christo­pher Dube said the lo­cal au­thor­ity would not com­ment on Gov­ern­ment plans. — @ncubeleon

Tourists in Vic­to­ria Falls

Act­ing Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa

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