Zim govt unveils plan for Vic Falls hospitality gems

Tourism minister Barbara Rwodzi

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has instructed the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry to make use of its 271 hectares of land in Victoria Falls for the development of top end hospitality gems in the resort town.

This was revealed by Barbara Rwodzi, the Tourism minister, during a two-day investment summit held in South Africa last week.

She said the ministry was considering using the land to build holiday homes and an estate similar to the affluent Borrowdale Brooke in Harare.

“Why can’t we build our own estate - beautiful, like what we see here in Johannesburg,” Rwodzi asked.

“We are here, your government, with terms and conditions, which are quite flexible. My boss (Mnangagwa) told me it ‘is a special economic zone for lease for 25 years. But listen to the investor, talk to the investor and always come to us and discuss if there are any adjustments that need to be made’.

“We have vast land in Victoria Falls, 1 200 hectares in an area called Masuwe that is for Special Economic Zones for tourism only. Two hundred and seventy-one hectares is under the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry. It has a title deed.

“The 1 200 hectares used to belong to our ministry,” she added.

Since she was appointed, Rwodzi said she had been running around to make use of the allocated land.

“I have 261 hectares now. Ten hectares have gone to Cricket Zimbabwe to build this stadium with its amenities, a three-star hotel and others,” the Tourism minister said.

Zimbabwe was one of three countries chosen to host the 2027 Cricket World Cup last year.

She said discussions were also underway to build the Victoria Falls financial hub.

“It is ready land,” Rwodzi told the conference.

“No stories, no back and forth, I have the titled deed. The conversation starts and ends here.”

The push for tourism investment comes as the sector saw a drop in capital injections by a huge 45% to US$172,2 million last year, despite a 27% increase in receipts to US$1,14 billion.

The drop in investments is from a 2022 comparative of US$312,5 million.

“All those properties you are talking about have to look like Zimbabwe,” Brand Africa founder and chairperson Thebe Ikalafeng said.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube revealed in the 2024 national budget that the tourism industry was expected to continue on a growth path, driven by increased domestic, regional and international arrivals.

The substantial rise in international arrivals in the country can be partly attributed to continued investments in the tourism industry, particularly airports and hotels.

The private sector is also complementing the government’s efforts to boost the tourism industry, marked by a surge in private sector investments.

Notable private sector investments include the opening of the Bulawayo Sterling Hotel and investments made by African Sun Limited in the refurbishing of Hwange Safari Lodge.

In 2024, the government will continue to allocate resources towards rehabilitation and renovation of tourism-related infrastructure to make the country a destination of choice, according to officials.

Related Topics