VICTORIA FALLS – The Zimbabwean Parliament has approved city status for the resort town of Victoria Falls’, following recommendations by a commission that was set up to assess the town’s capacity.
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo set the commission three years ago following an application for city status by the municipality.
The commission submitted its report on January 19, 2018 recommending that the municipality was fit to be granted city status.
Minister Moyo tabled the matter in Parliament on Wednesday where he sought the nod for President Mnangagwa to accord the status to the country’s prime tourism town.
MPs commended the development saying Victoria Falls deserved city status as it has what it takes to be a world class destination city.
If granted the status, Victoria Falls will become the first city in Matabeleland North and also the first city based on tourism in the country.
This will cement its prestigious status as the only tourism destination that competes with Cape Town in South Africa in terms of the number of hotels.
Victoria Falls, which boasts of a state-of-the-art airport, is the core of the Victoria Falls Area Tourism Development Plan and recently approved special economic zone (SEZ) corridor which comprises Masuwe Stateland, Batoka City, Mlibizi, Binga Centre, Sijalila, Hwange Hinterland and Gwayi Shangani resort, which all seek to improve tourism in and around Victoria Falls.
Government wants to make Victoria Falls its conferencing capital and plans to build Masue Satellite Town which will have a multi-purpose convention centre and state-of-the-art facilities such as five-star hotels, medical centre, a university, a Zimbabwe Defence Forces camp and sporting facilities among other facilities.
Government also plans to build about 30 000 houses at Masue as part of the Victoria Falls Development Plan.
Last week Government opened the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange which will trade in foreign currency thereby enhancing the town’s attractiveness and also lure investors.
The resort town has hosted many international events such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting and United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly and conferment of a city status will attract more of such events.
“Following receipt of an application by Victoria Falls Municipality for upgrading to city status, I appointed a commission to investigate the suitability of the council to be elevated to a city status. Upon my receipt of the report from the commission in December 2017, I studied the recommendation contained therein and am now satisfied that the fast growing local authority and tourist epicentre of Zimbabwe should be awarded city status.
“I now move a motion for the adoption of the report so that we can proclaim Victoria Falls Municipality as a city. I therefore call upon Parliament to resolve and recommend to the President to proclaim the municipality as a city and thereby Victoria Falls assume the status of an eminent tourism city in the world,” said Minister Moyo.