Sports Review Writer
A new cricket ground is set to be constructed in the Victoria Falls, but the development is likely to worry environmentalists as rapid developments gather pace in the resort town.
Victoria Falls is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and had so far boasted of the natural wonder, undisturbed wildlife and sparse habitation characteristic of the Matabeleland North extremity.
However, this is all set to change, with rapid development that will see other facilities such as a five star convention centre with matching flagship hotels and villas, a golf estate, a medical tourism facility and a commercial central business district, international service centre and high end residential units.
Review & Mail reported this week that Unesco had approved the construction of a power plant downstream of the world famous falls.
Observers charge that rapid developments in the resort town have echoes of land grab by elites.
However, authorities say sports tourism could be a key draw card to Victoria Falls, as part of a plan that was mooted in 2020 and Government approved the massive development project in March this year.
State media reported today that the Mosi-oa-Tunya Development Company, the vehicle for the development, had been scouting for investors and Zimbabwe Cricket came on board with plans to build a 10 000-seater cricket stadium starting in December this year.
It should be completed in two years.
“ZC becomes the pacesetter on the mega project with numerous other investors showing interest in the project that is set to become a game-changer in Zimbabwe’s tourism with the coming in of sports tourism,” the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Takaruza Munyanyiwa is quoted as saying after a tour Wednesday.
“ZC promised to have the groundbreaking for the stadium in the first week of December after which construction will start, and between US$5 million and US$10 million will be invested mainly from grants from the International Cricket Council.”
He explained: “This development has become a breaking point towards having sports tourism in our country. This is a serious development that will be a game changer to tourism in Zimbabwe…We believe this development by ZC is going to be a pull factor for other investors to come.”