by DANIEL JONES
VICTORIA FALLS – THE sleeping tourism destination of Binga is back on the world map, awakened by sports tourism.
This follows the introduction of beach handball and beach volleyball.
The first beach handball in Zimbabwe was held at the Binga sand beach on the Zambezi River last weekend.
Beach volleyball for women’s teams from across the country was held on Saturday at the same venue.
The inaugural beach volleyball was held recently in Manicaland province, another tourism destination in the country’s Eastern Highlands.
“Sports tourism is one area that has not been invested in,” said veteran sports administrator Morgen Dube.
He said Victoria Falls and Binga could cash in on sports tourism if invested into.
“Victoria Falls is a world acclaimed tourism destination but this has not translated into sport,” Dube said.
“The same goes for Binga which can be reawakened through various sporting activities that can draw numbers and boost bed nights, food and beverages and fuel consumption every weekend.”
With international tourism subdued due to travel restrictions, domestic
tourism has been carrying the industry’s fortunes and the two last weekends were a hive of activity for Binga with sports people.
In the past, residents and other stakeholders, especially in Victoria Falls, have challenged authorities to invest in sporting infrastructure that can attract world teams to visit the resort city for training and camping.
The concerns started in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup, which neighbouring South Africa hosted.
Some participating teams failed to find training grounds in Victoria Falls.
Driving along the 153km road connecting Binga to the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway is a nightmare as the road has been neglected and potholed.
No aircraft is also landing on the Binga airstrip which needs urgent attention.
Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said Binga is a sleeping tourism giant.
“I am very keen to see people use the river more through leisure on the beach, boating and other activities. The boat industry can tap into these opportunities. All we need is to see how best we can draw people to both beaches and sports can be one of them,” said Ndlovu.
Binga Rural District Council chief executive, Joshua Muzamba, said efforts are being made to develop Binga sand beach to commercialize it and attract people.
Government has also said it is mobilizing resources to upgrade the airstrip.
– CAJ News