The newly upgraded Victoria Falls City, which is the country’s prime resort destination will now be easily marketable globally.
Previously tourism industry operators in the area and those outside who include the world renowned resort in their itineraries to a certain extent had challenges to market the resort city, unlike if it fell within a city.
Normally, a city is easier to market or brand and in this case Victoria Falls City will now share pride of place alongside other world renowned tourist centers in the region like Cape Town.
The new status is being experienced on the back of several encouraging developments that are largely expected to further boost the potential to attract visitors, especially from international source markets like the US, Europe and China.
The developments include the commissioning of the US$200 million upgrade of the Victoria Falls International Airport, tourism investments in the resort city alone estimated at US$200 million just for the current year 2020, and the recent launch of a 19-suite luxurious hotel called Mbano Manor Hotel, Another accommodation facility, the 146-room Palm River Hotel, is reportedly currently being built at an estimated of US$24 million.
In addition, upgrades or expansions are taking place for several other facilities such as hotels and hotels in Victoria Falls City.
Launched early in 2020 and already in motion to further enhance and boost the tourism industry of the resort and its precincts is the ‘Victoria Falls Area Tourism Development Plan’. The plan is dovetailed into the Zimbabwe Destination Development Programme, a project aimed at resuscitating the tourism industry. “The plan is needed to support the destination’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and build longer-term resilience and pathways to growth,” Zimbabwe’s Permanent Secretary for Tourism was quoted in a local daily.
At the helm of the Victoria Falls City expansion plan is South African destination development firm, Freedthinkers, who views this timely and strategic project as a pivot for envisioning the new Victoria Falls City going forward.
Airlines connecting Victoria Falls to the rest of the world include Air Zimbabwe, British Airways, Airlink, Kenya Airways and SAA, and there are others lining up to service resort, in a country that also just launched the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy (NTRGS).
The growth of accommodation and other infrastructure will also enhance the city’s capacity to host the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) industry that is lucrative and booming across Africa
Victoria Fall City is already home to events such as the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon which attracts global runners annually.
Further boosting the international brand image of the city is the recently published survey which showed that about 41 % of trade partners currently view the resort town as ‘safe’.
Following the country’s phased reopening of six land borders (Beitbridge, Plumtree, Victoria Falls, Chirundu, Nyamapanda and Forbes) to passenger vehicles (and also pedestrians), it’s expected that those tourists who had been unable to travel for holidays during the lockdowns for almost half of the year will be able to get there and enjoy themselves in world class accommodation facilities, the mighty waterfall spectacle and surrounding pristine wildlife areas and more.
An important point for visitors from outside Zimbabwe is that they will have to produce a health certificate taken within 48 and showing they don’t have the virus.
Still on health, another major talking point during this time of the pandemic is the up and running state-of-the-art Covid 19 dedicated hospital known as HealthPoint Upper East Medical Centre and located in the quiet suburb of Mt Pleasant, Harare. This world class health facility will further boost confidence in the source markets during this uncertain time.
Early this month the Zimbabwean President was quoted by one of the country’s national dailies: “We want to make sure Victoria Falls is best…..”
“The President said Government has high expectations that Victoria Falls City will continue on its vision and mission to provide high quality services which maintain the uniqueness, natural ambience and competitiveness of the city as a premier tourist destination,” the daily quoted.
All these point to the fact that the new city is poised to witness unprecedented growth in tourism infrastructure and become ‘the world’s best destination’.