26 April 2013
A Chinese construction group has begun upgrading Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls Airport in preparation for a hoped-for rise in tourism, Chinese news agency Xinhua reports.
The two-year, $202-million project carried out by Jiangsu International Economic and Technical cooperation Group is aimed at raising the airport’s passenger capacity and attracting long-haul flights from abroad.
Financed by a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China, the project includes extending the current runway and building a second one, plus a new, 20,000-sq-meter terminal.
Victoria Falls: Zimbabwe hopes tourism will boost its economy.
Authorities want to triple the airport’s capacity from 500,000 to 1.5 million passengers annually.
David Chawota, chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, said airlines KLM and Emirates have expressed interest in flying directly to Victoria Falls, instead of commuting via Harare, Xinhua reported.
The government of Zimbabwe expects tourism to boost its economy, which is now largely sustained by mining and agriculture.
Zimbabwe and Zambia will co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) summit this August at Victoria Falls.