By Daniel Chigundu
KARIBA legislator Isaac Mackenzie has called on government and relevant authorities such as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) to help revive tourism activities in his resort town constituency.
According to Mackenzie, Kariba which has the potential to take tourism to greater heights is almost dead due to lack of marketing of the town and its resort facilities.
There are quite a number of activities which suit people of different interests in Kariba and some of the activities include houseboat cruising, fishing, canoeing and game viewing.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Honourable Mackenzie said Kariba must be given the same amount of publicity and facelift as Victoria Falls.
“Kariba is a tourist resort but nothing is moving, it is dead. We would want flights to Kariba to resume. We would want the publicity of Kariba just like is the case with other areas like Victoria Falls.
“All conference centres that have been constructed in Victoria Falls and conferences that are being held in Victoria Falls should also be transferred to Kariba. This will enable tourism to grow in that area,” he said.
Unlike Kariba, Victoria Falls has had its airport refurbished and upgraded to receive large aircrafts and it has also been designated a special economic zone as a way of attracting investors in the area.
Victoria Falls has hosted the UNWTO conference a few years ago, a high-level Sadc meeting of Heads of State among others.
According to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, tourism activities should be spread across the country to enable unlocking of the value of resources in other areas.
The call to spread national activities has resulted in Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel Expo being moved to Bulawayo for three years to stimulate tourism activities in the sleepy-city.
Zimbabwe has various tourist attraction centres, but some of them have remained under the radar owing to poor marketing strategies.
Although Kariba has potential to attract tourists, with its activities which are centred on the majestic lake, it still has smaller airports which means large aircrafts cannot land there yet.
Lack of suitable airports means tourists have to endure a gruelling 4-5 hours’ drive from Harare. The distance by road from Lusaka (via either Chirundu or Siavonga) is less but involves border formalities which can cause delays. It can, however, allow visitors the chance to cross the Zambezi River over the Chirundu Bridge or the awesomely impressive Kariba dam wall.