from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS – THE signing of some memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between Zimbabwe and Botswana will enable the two countries promote tourism and travel between them and the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The five agreements have been signed under the third session of the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Vitoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
One of the MoU) was on tourism.
Both countries are key members of the 520 000-km2 Kavango-Zambezi Tranfrontier Conservation Area which has five member states, others being Angola, Namibia and Zambia.
Botswana president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, said prospects were high for Victoria Falls to grow into a world tourism destination of choice with capacity to be an international hub.
He said the city status accorded to Victoria Falls more than a year ago was the tonic it needed to be the best destination.
“Botswana has noted with great admiration and ululation the upgrading of Victoria Falls to a prestigious city status in December 2020,” Masisi said.
“I am confident that with this great milestone, Victoria Falls is poised to achieve aspirations of becoming a smart competitive green city and a safe tourist and investment destination of choice by 2030.”
Victoria Falls was the first city in Zimbabwe to achieve herd immunity after more than 70 percent of its 109 600-population received the dose.
Masisi said the opening of the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFSE) will also attract business tourists.
Botswana and Zimbabwe share a significant number of tourists who connect mostly through self-drives between the two countries to explore such attractions as Victoria Falls, Hwange and Chobe National Parks.
Zimbabwe president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, also speaking at the BNC session, said stronger relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana must ultimately serve as building blocks towards accelerating integration in the SADC region and continent at large.
He said the government was determined to ensure the growth and recovery of all sectors of the economy in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are encouraged that the containment measures in place within our respective countries are mitigating its impact,” Mnangagwa said.
“Our robust vaccination drive has seen us vaccinating over 40 percent of the eligible population nation-wide, with a number of towns and cities, including the City of Victoria Falls, achieving herd immunity.”
Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa said, donating 50 000 Sinopharm vaccine doses as well as medical oxygen to Botswana.
Meanwhile, in anticipation of renewed life post COVID-19 lockdowns, airlines have established routes connecting tourism hubs between the two countries.
MackAir introduced daily flights between Victoria Falls and Kasane.
Fastjet has also introduced direct flights to Botswana’s tourism capital Maun.
Lufthansa’s Eurowings Discover will link Namibia’s Windhoek and Victoria Falls starting in March.
– CAJ News