THE Victoria Falls Town Council has set aside a $10 million capital budget for infrastructural development in the prime resort town to boost the tourism sector.
In an interview with Southern Eye Business, Victoria Falls town clerk Christopher Dube said the funds would be used to develop road infrastructure, sewer and water reticulation services.
“The council is working hard to improve the tourism sector in the town and we expect a lot of tourists to visit us,” he said.
“This town is a tourist destination and our roads have to be standard. To that cause, we have set aside $10 million for capital budget, but it is not enough. We expect these projects to be completed in three years’ time.”
Dube said sewer and water reticulation services needed at least $12 million while solid waste management needs about $1,6 million.
Roads infrastructure need a capital of $10 million. He said they needed to redo all the roads, especially in suburbs that were not well done, and to refill all potholes. The council has set a $20 million budget for 2015, an increase from the 2014 budget of $17,5 million.
Tourism contribution to the economy is expected to grow to 15% this year.
Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is slowly recovering from a decade of negative publicity triggered by the political and economic crisis that resulted in the country suffering a world record inflation that was only reversed following the demise of the local currency and adoption of a multiple currency.
In the last quarter of 2014, the government introduced a 15% value added tax on foreign receipts; a development players in the industry said would hit the tourism sector hard at a time it was showing signs of recovery.
In the first half of 2014, Victoria Falls received 867 163 tourists, 1% increase from 860 995 tourists recorded during the same period in 2013.
A report by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation released late last year revealed that tourist arrivals worldwide during the first 10 months of 2014 reached 978 million, an increase of 5% from the corresponding period in 2013.
The report also indicated that there were 45 million more visitors from January to October 2014 than those recorded in 2013.
Growth was strongest in the Americas where an 8% increase was recorded followed by Asia and the Pacific and Europe who recorded a 5% and 4% increase respectively.