VICTORIA Falls is a hive of activity as work on the hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly next month has gained momentum, with the entire infrastructure planned for the conference almost complete.
Report by Richard Muponde.
Zimbabwe and Zambia are co-hosting the international indaba, scheduled to run from August 24 to 29.
Southern Eye last week observed that the setting up of infrastructure planned to cater for the tourism event — which includes road works — is on course while the conference centre at Elephant Hills is taking shape.
Road expansion from the airport to Victoria Falls town, a 22km stretch, is left with less than 5km to complete while work on installing street lights has started in earnest, with the company which won the tender completing the trenching.
Refurbishment of the Victoria Falls Hospital is near completion.
Water and sewer reticulation systems rehabilitation is at an advanced stage, with completion expected by the beginning of August.
While no new airport will be built for the UNWTO, modification work at the existing Victoria Falls International Airport, which includes the expansion of the VIP lounge, enlargement of the check-in counter section as well as a new coat of paint is underway.
Final touches are also being done to improve Internet connectivity and linking connections with neighbouring Zambia, who are co-hosts of the marquée tourism event.
Econet Wireless, the official telecommunication partner for the UNWTO, has donated a
$100 000 state–of-the-art communication centre to the Tourism and Hospitality ministry ahead of the general assembly next month.
At the official opening of the general assembly, about 3 000 people are expected.
However, the actual number of foreign delegates flying into the country is expected to be slightly above 1 000.
The UNWTO General Assembly inter-ministerial committee and the UNWTO inspectorate team finished their final assessments two weeks ago.
The assessment began with a tour of the current renovations being undertaken by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls Airport terminal.
The refurbishments would see the terminal having ATMs among other services and also incorporating temporary structures that would be set up a few days before the general assembly.
When contacted for comment, the UNWTO local organising committee chairman and former
Victoria Falls mayor Nkosilathi Jiyane said his hands were tied as his term of office expired at the end of June.