A tour operator in the aviation sector in Victoria Falls, trading as Chikipokopo Helicopters Tours, is preparing to introduce scenic flights over the Falls as tourist arrivals continue to grow.
The company has engaged Outrun Investment Consultancy to consult stakeholders in the resort town.
Chikipokopo will use the Chamabondo helipad site, which is located outside the Victoria Falls World Heritage Site.
Players in the tourism sector in Victoria Falls are busy sprucing up facilities in preparation for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly 2013 (UNWTO) to be co-hosted by the resort town and Livingstone in Zambia.
More than 2 000 delegates from around the world are expected to attend the event.
Chikopokopo said it was carrying out an environmental impact assessment before embarking on the flights.
“This project is prescribed in terms of the Environment Management Act (CAP 20:27), first schedule and, therefore, cannot be implemented before an environmental impact assessment (EIA) is conducted,” the company said.
“In order to satisfy the legal requirements and achieve best practices, Chikopokopo Helicopter Tours has appointed Outrun Investment Consultancy to conduct the EIA.”
The EIA is also a tool for planning in advance for the mitigation measures necessary to counter any negative impacts.
In 2009, two hoteliers at the prime resort town petitioned the World Heritage Commission against noise pollution in the town.
The hoteliers, The Victoria Falls Hotel and the Kingdom, separately wrote to the World Heritage Commission saying noise generated by frequent flights over the Falls and through gorges and the number of licences given to helicopter operators were a cause for concern.