New look Victoria Falls Airport to boost Zim tourism
explorer, David Livingstone as “so beautiful that even angels on their flight to heaven should have stopped and gazed!”
Victoria Falls is now within touching distance to the world but how does Zimbabwe stand to realise the gains from this million dollar project?
In this day and age where the world has become one global village, air transportation is fast proving a vital cog in the development of economies hence the “open skies policy” mantra reaching fever pitch at every government economic recovery strategy fora.
In his address during the official opening of the Victoria Falls Airport, President Mugabe was quick to point to the need by the Government to quickly restructure the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to separate the regulatory authority from airport management functions in line with the international best practices.
“Now that the Victoria Falls Airport is complete, I urge the ministry (of Transport and Infrastructure Development) to move to achieving our aim to making Zimbabwe the regional hub of Southern Africa,” said President Mugabe.
The Victoria Falls are by far one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions. Before the refurbishment of the airport, wide bodied planes were landing in Livingston Zambia, yet the most attractive sites of the falls are in Zimbabwe. As they say, the Victoria Falls are like a woman, if you want the back side you go to Zambia and if you want the front side, you obviously come to Zimbabwe.
In order to reap the full benefits from the Victoria Falls International Airport, there is need to free the air space and Tourism and Hospitality Minister, Dr Walter Mzembi is on record calling for the open skies policy.
There is also need to review prices across all sectors, setting attractive accommodation prices as well as those for other activities so as to lure more tourists to the destination.
“Besides the open skies policy, there is also need for us to be competitive as a destination. As it is some countries are benefiting through offering affordable prices and encouraging tourists across to globe to come to their countries where they would be offered packages to fly to Victoria Falls and back with Zimbabwe getting a small chunk of the cake as tourists chose the cheaper way,” said Dr Mzembi.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe president, Mr George Manyuma said the tourism sector would be gathering for its annual conference soon with the issue of prices one of the meeting’s agenda.
He says with the prevailing pricing regime, the country was out bidding itself despite it being one of the best destinations in Southern Africa.
“There has been a lot of talk about high prices in the tourism industry and in our annual conference the pricing regime would be part of the agenda,” he saidZimpapers syndication services.
The new look Victoria Falls International Airport