IFC in deal to boost Victoria Falls flights and promote tourism

ZIMBABWE -The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, will partner Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry in efforts to attract more airlines and flights into the country’s premier tourist destination, Victoria Falls.

The partnership, which also include partners like CPCS Transcom a consultancy firm and Cape Town Air Access, a project of  Wesgro, the Tourism, Trade, and Investment Promotion Agency for South Africa’s Western Cape, is focused on helping Zimbabwe conduct data analysis and facilitate dialogue with airlines to recover and strengthen Victoria Falls’ position as a tourism and air transport hub for Zimbabwe and the region.

In a statement released to the press, IFC said the Government’s targeted Covid-19 vaccination of tourism workers in Victoria Falls “is expected to put the destination in a privileged position for re-attracting airlines, tourists, and revenues”.

As the world moves towards recovering from Covid-19 pandemic and as movement of tourists to destinations with lesser Covid- 19 threats improves, countries such as Zimbabwe that are leading in the region as far as vaccination against the disease is concerned are likely to attract many international visitors.

“With the right support, Victoria Falls can become a truly competitive tourism entry point for the region. Establishing this position in the market will help drive tourism through Zimbabwe and support recovery and jobs,” said Adamou Labara, IFC’s Country Manager for Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Commenting on the development, Tawanda Gusha, Acting CEO for the Airports Company of Zimbabwe said the partnership is timely.

“The time is right to expand our network to ensure the destination can grow its position as a gateway to the country and the wider region. This is in line with our strategic thrust of developing Victoria Falls as a regional tourism hub.”

The latest partnership is not the first time IFC has been involved in efforts to boost activities in Victoria Falls.

“With the right support, Victoria Falls can become a truly competitive tourism entry point for the region. Establishing this position in the market will help drive tourism through Zimbabwe and support recovery and jobs”

Adamou Labara – IFC Country Manager for Zimbabwe

In October 2020, the IFC partnered Zimbabwe in launching an initiative to boost tourism in and around Victoria Falls to help strengthen the country’s tourism industry that has suffered a sharp decline in visitors due to the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.

The initiative, dubbed the “Victoria Falls Area Tourism Development Plan”, is part of the multi-year Zimbabwe Destination Development Programme (ZDDP), an advisory programme launched in January 2021 and sponsored by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry; the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and the IFC, to support the recovery of the local tourism sector.

The plan is meant to establish a roadmap to realise the growth potential of Victoria Falls and the wider area, including Masuwe, in a feasible, phased, and sustainable way.

It will recommend detailed actions in areas such as data collection, marketing and skills development, infrastructure, and viable project investments.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) has called for expression of interest in crafting a Visual Blueprint of what the 1,200-hectare Victoria Falls/Masuwe area would look like if developed.

ZIDA has been mandated to coordinate the process of developing the Masuwe area into a viable and sustainable Special Economic Zone, based on feasible and coordinated implementation plan.

“The Agency now invites Registered Specialist Consultants with proven record of accomplishments, qualification, to submit their expression of interest to provide services for the development of the Visual Blue Print for the planned area,” reads part of the statement by ZIDA.

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