Zimparks mulls opening Victoria Falls Rainforest round the clock to boost tourism

Source: Zimparks mulls opening Victoria Falls Rainforest round the clock to boost tourism | The Financial Gazette June 27, 2017

ZIMBABWE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) is planning to upgrade facilities and install artificial lighting in the famed Victoria Falls Rainforest, which it is considering opening round the clock to attract more tourists.

The Rainforest, located within the 2,340-hectare Victoria Falls National Park, is visited on average by 250,000 tourists annually, 75 percent of them foreign visitors and offers unparalleled views of the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe’s premier tourist attraction.The Falls are the largest curtain of naturally falling water in the world measuring 1.7km wide and 108m in depth and are one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

About 198 000 people paid to visit the Rainforest in 2012. Zimparks feels the numbers are too low and is looking at the possibility of opening the Rainforest around the clock.

“As Zimparks we are looking at coming up with 7 star hotel facilities with conferencing service in Victoria Falls National Park as well as improving the Rainforest waterfall viewpoints and the restaurant overlooking Zambezi River,” Zimparks deputy director general George Manyumwa told a visiting Chinese delegation examining the proposed location of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the area.

Government has earmarked Victoria Falls, Harare’s Sunway City, Bulawayo, Mutare and Lupane for the SEZ development

“There will also be renovation of entrance to increase range of services and luxury goods, duty free retail shops as well as illumination of Rainforest to enable 24 hour visitation,” he said.

He did not give details about revenue but it costs $7 for locals to enter the Rainforest while regional and international tourists pay $20 and $30 respectively.

Manyumwa said the Victoria Falls town had a limited number of activities at night, resulting in visitors limiting their average visitation to one day.

“The new airport can now handle 1,5 million passengers a year which is an opportunity to increase tourist arrivals,” he said.

Last week, Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said Zimbabwe had signed a comprehensive agreement with unnamed Chinese investors for the construction of a ‘Disneyland in Africa’, a tourism and conference theme park in the resort town.

Government is also exploring the option of making the theme park a part of the economic zone, officials said, adding that no firm decision had been made, officials said. – The Source

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar

    Only 250 000 tourists annually? Where do Mzembi’s other 2 million tourists go to?? They obviously think that the $30 fee is way too high and that Vic Falls in general is a rip-o destination. On the other hand, the remaining 2 million are actually cross-border shoppers – isn’t that so???? Stupid and costly idea to open the Rain Forest during the night time – the lighting and the subsequent Zesa bill will make it uneconomical. Sadly, Zim Parks are on a mission to sell their wildlife soul for pennies by leasing out vast areas of most National Parks Estates to the highest bidders for ‘private concession areas’ which would deny locals entry to the Parks.

  • comment-avatar
    Fallenz 5 years ago

    $7 for locals, $20 for regional, $30 for international… so, someone explain how this is not price-gouging..!
    It’s “stick it to the tourists”, just like the exorbitant duty tax is sticking it to citizens… all because the grubby, greedy little ZANU-PF hands were given control of the Zim coffers, stole the nation blind, and the tourist dollar is just too much temptation for ZANU-PF to not steal it, too.

    (I have watched international visitors turn away, disgusted by the rip-offs, refusing to pay the premium prices just on the general principal of refusing to be volunteer victims of thieves. This is not some ficticous account, but an actual event… it happened, I saw it, I know the individuals, and since I know it to be fact, there’s no telling how many times it happens again and again every day, and how many others they go and tell to warn of the rip-off.)

    The same idgits who couldn’t understand why printing more and more Zim dollars in 2008 was increasing the inflation rate now can’t understand why gouging tourists at a state-controlled attraction has a negative effect on tourism.

    They do know how to rob banks and destroy a once-vibrant, economically-sound nation, but not a clue as to how to govern or manage an economy… not one clue. I don’t care how many “PHD’s” are put behind a name, it just can’t fix “stupid”. Idgits..!