About 30 000 jobs are expected to be created with the construction of a 5 000-seater tourism convention centre in Victoria Falls.
The facility is being built ahead of the United Nations World Tourism (UNWTO) General Assembly to be co-hosted by the resort town and Zambia’s Livingstone town next year.
This was said by the resort town mayor Nkosilathi Jiyane who also revealed $350 million would be spent on the project.
“By August 2013 there must be a convention centre here,” he said. “We have started clearing the site where it will be constructed and we expect about 30 000 people, particularly the unskilled, to benefit through employment.
“About $350 million is needed for the full construction of the centre.”
The centre is expected to be complete by the end of this year, a deadline that puts Zimbabwe under pressure.
Delegates from 176 countries from across the world are expected to descend at the resort town, home to the majestic falls which are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Jiyane said the project had been at a stand-still because the 12-member local organising committee was dissolved last year as it had only been an interim arrangement.
It was, however, re-appointed on Monday by the government’s inter-ministerial committee on UNWTO General Assembly.
The mayor said confusion shrouded the project when the committee was dissolved, but expressed optimism work would now proceed smoothly.
In the past, authorities in Victoria Falls had complained about importation of labour from other provinces at the expense of locals.
Jiyane said in addition, the airport would also be expanded to cater for the expected increase in the volume of air traffic.
“The expansion of the airport will start in March and will cost about $170 million,” he said. “We expect the project to be complete by end of this year.”