Government will ensure resort areas in Zimbabwe are accessible to all visitors targeting the country as a tourist destination, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has said. Government is also making it a priority that Kariba Resort is accessible by air and road.
In an interview after launching the "African Dream" houseboat in Kariba yesterday, VP Chiwenga said Government was working on developing Kariba so that it is accessible to all tourists coming to Zimbabwe.
He said Kariba was expected, under the Second Republic, to grow like the Victoria Falls. The launch of the African Dream was hosted by the Zimpapers BoldAds Event Management team.
VP Chiwenga, who was accompanied by his wife, Marry, applauded CroisiEurope investors for investing in Zimbabwe.
"CroisiEurope Company operates shipping business in 32 other countries across Africa. Zimbabwe becomes the 33rd country. The launch of this African Dream luxury ship presents excellent opportunities to show that Zimbabwe is now ready for business.
"It is a demonstration that Zimbabwe has the requisite skilled force, which has made this dream come true," VP Chiwenga said. The cruise ship is a collaboration between the Zimbabwean and French governments.
"The investment, which was done in partnership with a French-based company, amounts to $2,5 million and building of the second vessel is at an advanced stage," VP Chiwenga said.
"I am reliably informed that building of the second dream luxury ship will be completed by March 2020." According to the investors, plans are afoot to bring two boats to Lake Kariba.
"The African Dream luxury ship has been operating since March, with business reported to be impressive. Occupancy from May to date is reported to be between 80 to 100 percent."
VP Chiwenga said Government was making it a priority for Kariba to be open to regional and international tourists. He said the Government programme would be anchored on ensuring Kariba is accessible.
"Government under the leadership of President Mnangagwa will prioritise making the resort town of Kariba accessible to the region and the international world. This will entail that we make sure that the Kariba Airport becomes an international airport open to regional and international market.
"We also target reconstructing the Harare-Chirundu highway linking the Makuti-Kariba highway," he said. VP Chiwenga, however, bemoaned the social injustice where residents around Lake Kariba were not benefiting from the dam.
In her welcome address, newly-appointed Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Mashonaland West, Mary Mliswa, said the launch of the African Dream proves that Zimbabwe is open for business.
"We are expecting more investors to start taking advantage of the natural resources in the province especially in mining, agriculture and tourism," she said.
Minister Mliswa said in heeding President Mnangagwa's call for devolution, Mashonaland West would build its GDP based on agriculture, mining and tourism potential. The launch was attended by the members of the Schmitter family, who are the investors.
Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira, Local Government Deputy Minister Jennifer Mhlanga, Transport and Infrastructural Development Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi and several Government officials were also present.