ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange-listed property firm, Zimre Property Investments (ZPI), will tomorrow commission a $13 million shopping mall in Victoria Falls, as investors stampede to the resort town after its recent major airport expansion.
Following the $150 million upgrade of Victoria Falls International Airport in November 2016, major airlines expanded frequencies, while new carriers started flying to the prime destination.
Government has scaled up efforts to transform the town into a special economic zone and turn it into a regional financial centre to attract world class health services to complement an expected boom in tourism.
Zimbabwe’s largest financial institution by deposits, CBZ Holdings, entered the resort town last year to develop hundreds of residential stands.
ZPI said it had been attracted by the projected rapid expansion, and would be deploying significant resources to add a shopping mall to its growing list of top end real estate gems countrywide.
“Following the completion of the Victoria Falls Airport expansion and the increased tourist traffic thereafter, the Zimre Property Investments Ltd is constructing a $13 million shopping mall to complement such a major national development,” managing director, Edson Muvingi said.
The $150 million facelift to the Victoria Falls International Airport was bankrolled by the Chinese.
There has been a sharp rise in arrivals in the past year, which could have significant implications for the country’s tourism industry.
Victoria Falls accounts for 40 percent of Zimbabwe’s total arrivals, with the bulk of its visitors attracted by the millenia old waterfall at the heart of the mighty Zambezi, in addition to its wildlife-rich game sanctuaries.
Two weeks ago, Africa Albida Tourism (AAT), one of the country’s largest tourism firms, said following years of struggle to reach its potential, “Victoria Falls is back”, boosted by the landmark aviation facility whose runway has been stretched to four kilometres from 1,5 kilometres.
It can now handle 1,5 million tourists per annum, from about
There are forecast-busting statistics related to the airport upgrade, showing additional airline seats at a staggering 127 000 during the first year of the expanded airport’s operation.
In March last year, the industry had projected 80 000 additional seats.
Occupancy rates in the resort town’s 1 125 hotel rooms rose by almost 20 percent, according to AAT.
“There was an 18,5 percent increase in hotel occupancy in Victoria Falls in 2017 compared to 2016, with an additional 35 730 rooms sold across 10 hotels, which together have 1 125 rooms available per night,” said AAT chief executive officer, Rose Kennedy.
“These growth rates in key ratios are way in excess of regional industry norms, and add substantial weight to the fact that Victoria Falls is back and the future is looking very bright. This is extremely positive news as the first quarter is usually the poorest business period in the destination,” Kennedy said.