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Friday, July 19, 2024

US$5 billion tourism receipts target on track

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

ZIMBABWE’S quest for a US$5 billion tourism sector by 2025 is on track as the government and its partners have set in motion plans to construct an international cricket stadium and other related infrastructure in Victoria Falls.

In 2023 released statistics indicated that tourism was the number one contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product with 12% contribution indicating growth in terms of job creation, foreign exchange earnings, and overall socio-economic development.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the start the construction of cricket stadium and other ancillary projects in Victoria Falls this Saturday, Honourable Tongai Mnangagwa, indicated that efforts are ongoing to achieve a stable tourism contribution while targeting the US$5 billion in tourism receipts by 2025.

“Today marks the beginning of a very important project within our Sports Tourism cluster; the development of the International Cricket Stadium by Zimbabwe Cricket in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry supported by key stakeholders in a whole of government approach. This is a significant milestone towards a US$5 billion Tourism and Hospitality Industry by 2025 and a step towards the achievement of Vision 2030 of becoming an upper middle income economy, as pronounced by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa,” he said.

Hwange Rural District Council and traditional leadership acknowledged the importance of the project for the district and reminded the developers to plough back into the community.

“We have a community that was benefitting from this land as grazing land. The developer must draw water from the Zambezi River for the local community to grow fodder for their cattle. Chiefs from this area must also benefit with good houses, no one must be left behind,” said Hwange Rural District Council, Chief Executive Officer, Mr Pindile Ncube.

“Please take note, we look forward to the Mosi Oa Tunya Development Company Project changing livelihoods through employment creation. It is important for the government to prioritise community involvement in such projects. Also, we believe this project will encourage tourism players to work with the community. Let’s empower the community,” noted Acting Chief Mvuthu, Mr Bishop Matata Sibanda.

Mosi Oa Tunya Development Company (MOTDC) board chairperson Mrs Sheila Sidambe gave an update on the implementation of the integrated tourism resort known as Masuwe City in Victoria Falls.

“Rigorous processes and procedures have been done, for instance a comprehensive feasibility study and validation by stakeholders. Processes and procedures will continue to be adhered to. Currently, we eagerly await the finalisation of permits from the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, a crucial step in our journey,” she said.

Tourism is a key pillar of the Zimbabwean economy, being number three after mining and agriculture.

MOTDC is a state-owned entity operating under the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality.

Its primary mandate is to develop tourism infrastructure within Victoria Falls, spanning across 271.5 hectares of land.

At the forefront of its endeavours is the development of an integrated tourism park, with its inaugural project being an international cricket stadium, in collaboration with Zimbabwe Cricket.

Beyond the cricket stadium, there are numerous investment opportunities waiting to be seized, catering to a diverse range of sectors including international finance centre, shops and offices; golf estate; tourism and hospitality school; medical resort; hotels; art and craft centre and others.

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